New ap­proach to men­tal health

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Wim­mera res­i­dents will have a new way to mon­i­tor their men­tal health af­ter the launch of a dig­i­tal health pro­gram.

The Mon­i­torme pro­gram is the re­sult of a part­ner­ship be­tween Unit­ing Wim­mera and Fed­er­a­tion Uni­ver­sity.

It uses de­tails par­tic­i­pants pro­vide about them­selves, keep­ing track of mood and daily life­style, to of­fer in­for­ma­tion and guid­ance when they ex­pe­ri­ence signs of stress, anx­i­ety or low mood.

Unit­ing Wim­mera is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing in its ser­vices to trial the pro­gram as part of a re­search project in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Fed­er­a­tion Uni­ver­sity.

The project will in­ves­ti­gate whether par­tic­i­pants can im­prove their men­tal health and re­duce stress us­ing a dig­i­tal pro­gram.

If the project is suc­cess­ful Unit­ing plans to make it avail­able to more peo­ple in the re­gion.

Unit­ing Wim­mera act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Josh Koenig said Mon­i­torme could aug­ment ex­ist­ing men­tal health ser­vices and pro­vide in­terim sup­port to peo­ple un­able to ac­cess them due to dis­tance, wait lists or anx­i­ety.

“One of the ma­jor chal­lenges we face in sup­port­ing our com­mu­nity is ac­cess to fund­ing for tra­di­tional, early in­ter­ven­tion men­tal health ser­vices,” he said.

“With the roll-out of the NDIS, many Wim­mera peo­ple are ei­ther not get­ting ap­proved for a plan or don’t have the re­quired fund­ing to pay for the ser­vices they need.”

Fed­er­a­tion Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor Britt Klein helped de­velop the pro­gram for the past two years and said dig­i­tal health was a grow­ing field.

“Dig­i­tal health is an im­por­tant in­stru­ment in the tool­kit of health care pro­fes­sion­als and is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in im­prov­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity to timely health in­for­ma­tion for peo­ple liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas,” she said.

“This trial goes fur­ther than our pre­vi­ous re­search, in that it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether peo­ple who are al­ready re­ceiv­ing sup­port from a com­mu­nity ser­vice worker or or­gan­i­sa­tion will ben­e­fit from par­tic­i­pat­ing in Mon­i­torme along­side that sup­port.

“Mon­i­torme em­pow­ers peo­ple with the in­for­ma­tion and tools they need to bet­ter man­age their men­tal health.”

More in­for­ma­tion about Mon­i­torme and the trial is avail­able by vis­it­ing web­site unit­ing wim­ or call­ing 1800 195 114.

Par­tic­i­pants must be over the age of 18 and must sign up be­fore Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 28 to be part of the trial.

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