Australia’s First E-Counselling App Leverages New Technology For Mental Health

Australia’s First E-Counselling App Leverages New Technology For Mental Health

Connect, a new App launched by health-tech company, Healthshare, provides a new way for people to reach out and get the help they need. Connect supports people’s mental wellbeing by connecting them with a qualified Australian therapist over a secure messaging platform.

Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2015 released this month shows that technology is creating rapid shifts in social norms. For the first time ever, instant messaging has surpassed phone calls for 18-24 year olds. In over 45’s, instant messaging use jumped nearly 70 per cent this year, and is expected to grow further[i].

Healthshare CEO, Rami Weiss, said “Connect is a new way of connecting people with therapists at any time and from any place. It’s like WhatsApp for health. Connect doesn’t replace traditional counselling; instead it leverages new technologies to make mental health support more accessible.

“Connect uses technology to provide access to people who may not yet be ready for face-to-face therapy, may want to remain anonymous, may not be able to travel, or just simply need to reach out for help.

“Connect provides anonymity, convenience, and high quality support at a lower cost than face-to-face therapy.”

Dr Charlotte Middleton, Healthshare medical director said: “One in six Australians experience depression or anxiety or both at any given time[ii]. We know that approximately 65 per cent of people with mental illness do not access any treatment[iii].

“People access Connect for a range of issues, including depression, anxiety, work place issues, addiction, eating disorders, relationship issues, stress management and sexual difficulties.

“Technology is rapidly changing how we communicate. Texting is fast becoming a primary method of communication. We are now busier than ever before. Therapy needs to engage people in a relatable way. If technology is how people engage, then we need to integrate it into our approach.

“Connect overcomes barriers to accessing support by providing a safe and convenient space for therapy.

Research has shown text therapy to be an efficient and effective means of therapy. A recent US study showed that 81 per cent of text therapy users found it to be the same or better than other forms of therapy; 98 per cent found it to be more convenient; and 69 per cent found it to be more affordable[iv].

“We no longer have to be in the right place at the right time to access psychological support. We can now reach out from the comfort of our own couch and in the moment that we might need it most,” said Middleton.

[i]Mobile Consumer Survey 2015, The Australian Cut, Deloitte, 2015

[ii] Beyond Blue, 2015

[iii] Black Dog Institute, UNSW, 2015

[iv]Preliminary Study of Text-based Psychotherapy, Columbia University, 2015

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