New clinical research has found five key areas of wellbeing are central to staying psychologically healthy, especially for those with depression, anxiety, or substance abuse concerns.
Digital mental health pioneer, Professor Nick Titov, is the Founding Director of MindSpot at Macquarie University, a government-funded online mental health service which is free to use, confidential and accessible from anywhere, making it possible for people living in rural and regional areas to access immediate help from mental health professionals.
Professor Titov says symptoms of depression, anxiety or substance abuse develop over months or years. Sometimes these symptoms are triggered by major events – like the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘The impacts of events are often made worse by the changes we make in our thinking and our actions,’ said Professor Titov.
‘When we’re distressed, feeling anxious or depressed, we tend to stop doing things we usually do, and which help to keep us well. Our view of ourselves and the world can also become pessimistic, negative, and unrealistic.
‘The good news is negative thinking patterns can be reversed. It takes weeks of practice to start feeling better. There are psychological skills we can all learn and practice and which can help us to recovery.
‘These skills are often simple, but they take effort, commitment, and courage,’ he said.
Professor Titov said the five key areas of wellbeing bringing proven results are clear thinking, doing the things you love, having plans and goals, maintaining healthy routines and social connections.’
‘These five key areas are important for everyone, but particularly important for people with depression, anxiety or substance abuse issues who may need professional support to guide and support their recovery,’ said Professor Titov.
‘Many people resist getting help because of fear of stigma, social isolation or financial difficulties. MindSpot breaks down those barriers, offering Australian adults a free, completely confidential online mental health assessment and treatment without the need for a referral from a doctor.
‘When people complete a MindSpot treatment course either with weekly free therapist support or by themselves, results from 30,000 people showed reduced symptoms by at least 50% because of treatment, with results sustained or improved three months after treatment completion,’ he said.
Available to almost everyone
MindSpot, Australia’s first digital mental health service, is designed to support the mainstream health system to become more efficient and help people wherever they are, by connecting them with qualified mental health experts.
‘We’re reaching out to Australian adults with depression, anxiety or substance abuse concerns — aged from sixteen to the elderly, even those in retirement villages – to let them know they can receive the mental health support they need free anywhere, anytime using our technology in privacy,’ said Professor Titov.
‘MindSpot is proven to deliver outcomes on a par with traditional face-to-face mental health services,’ he said. ‘COVID-19 has resulted in extremely long wait-times for face-to-face services and in fact making them virtually impossible, whereas our services allow instant feedback,’ he said.
For more information visit: www.mindspot.org.au.
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