Mental health is an incredibly complex aspect of our overall well-being. Just as we have a selection of treatment options and health services for our physical maladies, individuals need easy access to the appropriate resources and mental health help.
Fortunately, a whole list of mental health support services is available across Australia, both in person and through online platforms, delivering everything from online counselling to crisis support.
Here we explore some of the different types of professional and free online mental health services available in Australia.
What Mental Health Support Services are Available in Australia?
Several different forms of online mental health services are available, each with its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, and it is essential to understand the differences between them in order to choose the best option for your needs.
People from all walks of life experience a host of mental health challenges, but unfortunately, not all of us will have direct access to the help we need, when we need it. Perhaps you’re in a regional town without any specialists nearby, or an area with few psychologists or counsellors available, forcing you to endure long wait times just to make a booking.
Well, teletherapy, also known as online counselling, looks to solve that by allowing individuals to work with a trained counsellor or registered psychologist exclusively over the internet.
Instead of searching for an in-person appointment, you can work through sessions from home, at work, or anywhere private with a stable internet connection, using a combination of video conferencing software, phone calls, and even instant-messaging tools.
Book a Session Whenever You Need
Before, you may have needed to overturn your entire life just to attend the next available appointment. Now, you can book within a flexible schedule that works best for your life. The goal is to provide greater convenience and less friction when exploring your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours, still developing the tailored techniques for managing difficult situations that you would with a specialist in-person.
My Mirror, for example, allows patients to either select from several online psychologists depending on their skillsets and availability, or use our matching tool to find the best solution for their needs. Wherever you are located across Australia, you are guaranteed to be able to book a 50-min session within 48 hours of your initial search.
My Mirror’s platform also allows your psychologist to upload recaps, session logs, and graphical representations of your progress, creating a database of resources to help you put your therapy advice into practice between appointments.
Find Potential Savings with Each Session to Meet Your Budget
Moreover, if you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative to face-to-face therapy, online therapy services can be more affordable as there aren’t the same overheads required. Medicare rebates for psychology sessions and in some cases, bulk-billing psychologists are also accessible online.
Keep All of Your Information Confidential
Although helpful, working through your mental challenges can be confronting, especially when you are new to the process. It can help you feel more comfortable discussing sensitive and personal information over the internet than in person. All of your data and information are protected and kept confidential within specialised, encrypted software approved by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), ensuring your ongoing privacy.
Video communication software has become incredibly advanced, offering an experience as good as face-to-face therapy, allowing you to receive the same quality treatment. Some people do, however, find it a little difficult to connect with a therapist over the internet, and may prefer the personal interaction of in-person therapy sessions.
Without a stable internet connection or modern equipment, your teletherapy sessions may also be disrupted by technical difficulties. Be sure to have a reliable setup before getting started.
Online Support Groups
Online support groups are virtual communities for people to meet and connect with others facing similar challenges or mental health issues. These groups are found on social media platforms, dedicated websites, and mobile applications.
Easy Access to a Supportive Community of People in a Similar Situation
Many mental health issues stem from feelings of isolation or misunderstanding. An online support group can offer a sense of community and support from not only people suffering similar issues but also those who have worked through them. While these groups also exist in a face-to-face setting, the online platforms offer a convenient option for those who may be unable to attend them.
Share Your Preferred Information at No Additional Expense
When you join an online support group, you are free to share as much or as little information as you like. This can range from your feelings and experiences, to your personal details, including your name or contact information.
It’s also likely that you will find a range of free, mental health online services, especially with not-for-profit organisations, enhancing your experiences.
Online support groups are excellent for sharing your emotions and learning from the experiences of others, but they aren’t always moderated by licenced professionals. You could miss valuable techniques and teachings to help your development, and entering support groups at different times in your progress can be jarring, potentially causing further problems rather than offering solutions.
Online Mental Health Help & Free Resources
To fully address an issue with your mental health, it pays to first learn as much as you can about its origins. Education is a crucial aspect of mental health care, allowing individuals to understand their condition more deeply and develop reliable ways to manage it – and even overcome it – long-term.
There are several organisations that offer resources like videos, e-books, and websites, as well as a free mental health hotline for those across Australia. Popular options include:
- Beyond Blue: A wealth of information and support for individuals experiencing anxiety and depression, as well as plenty of resources to maintain your overall well-being.
- The Black Dog Institute: Information and resources on mental health, including a variety of free online mental health services for First Nations people, schools and workplaces.
- Headspace: Dedicated online mental health support for young people in Australia experiencing a range of issues.
- Lifeline: A national charity dedicated to offering those experiencing emotional distress crisis support and suicide prevention services, 24 hours a day.