The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused many changes in our lives which can affect our mental health and wellbeing. We might be dealing with existing mental health problems, or feeling anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed due to new concerns. However, there are a range of digital mental health services that can help.
There are many ways to get help for our mental health ranging from counselling services to digital services that can be accessed via a phone, computer or tablet. Some services link users to a practitioner who acts as a coach or guide and tracks their progress as they use a web program, while others are self-guided for people who prefer to work on their own. Most of these services are free and available over extended hours or can be used at any time. These resources are available for anyone who is facing problems, not just people with a mental health diagnosis.
We have compiled a list of suitable, evidence-based or evidence informed, Australian resources in our ‘Managing Your Mental Health Online During COVID-19’ factsheet. Through this factsheet, which can be downloaded for free through our Resource Library, you can access a wide variety of services including;
Phone and Online Counselling Services
There are a range of phone and online counselling services available, providing support for a range of issues, such as depression, anxiety, suicide, domestic violence, relationship concerns, eating disorders, grief, and loneliness. Through these services users can speak with a trained counsellor or volunteers about any issues they may be facing, or in times of crisis.
There are a wide variety of apps available to support users’ mental health and wellbeing. These can provide peer-support and information, teach techniques and strategies, or guide users through a program. Digital mental health apps are a great tool to help build good mental health as users can access them at any time and work through the contents at their own pace. Many apps include features that help users track their mental health, discover new coping strategies, and create plans for when they are experiencing mental health problems.
Moderated forums provide a safe, supportive online environment where users can connect with other people experiencing similar issues. There are forums for a range of mental health issues and demographics, allowing users to access peer-to-peer support for everything from day-to-day issues to larger mental or physical health concerns.
Digital mental health programs come in a variety of forms, allowing users to work through mental health treatment via a website or app. Self-guided programs are designed for people who prefer to work on their own, working through an online course to address a mental health concern, such as stress, depression or anxiety, or simply build good mental health. Many of these programs are based on CBT principles and can be completed at the users own pace, working through a series of steps, modules or workbooks to help prevent or manage symptoms and wellbeing issues.
Therapist Supported Programs
In addition to self-guided programs, there are also a range of digital mental health programs that offer therapist support or can be completed with the guidance of a health professional. Some of these services connect users to a practitioner who acts as a coach for the duration of the program and tracks their progress, while others are designed to be used with the assistance of your own health professional. There are many programs that offer both self-guided and therapist supported options.
There are a wide variety of websites providing information, advice and tips on a range of mental health issues. These sites can help answer users’ questions about their own or a loved one’s mental health concerns, by providing information about a variety of mental health and wellbeing conditions, and sharing lived-experience stories. Mental health information sites can also help users address their own mental health concerns by providing tips that may help or connect them to available mental health treatment. These sites sometimes include worksheets, guides, and toolkits to help individuals and families cope with mental health issues.
Many digital mental health services include videos or video series to help users learn skills and knowledge to help them cope with their mental health concerns. There are videos for a range of mental health topics and demographics, allowing users to learn skills and information to help support their own or a loved one’s mental health and wellbeing. These videos can be an independent resource of assist users with the completion of a digital mental health program.
Telehealth Support and Resources for Health Workers
There are a range of digital mental health resources designed to help allied health professionals, GPs, psychologist, frontline workers and other health care professional. These resources can help health workers to support clients and take care of their own mental health and wellbeing. From support to use of telehealth and guides to video mental health consultation, to tips and programs for managing life and work, these resources come in a variety of formats and cover a range of topics.
The Managing Your Mental Health Online During COVID-19 factsheet is updated regularly to provide users with the most up to date information on digital mental health resources. View or download the PDF here to start utilising digital mental health support. This factsheet also contains links to a range of specific resources for supporting mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.