Supporting Allied Health professionals to find and use reliable mental health apps and online programs with their patients

Ms Heidi Sturk1, Dr Ruth Crowther1, Professor David Kavanagh1

1Queensland University Of Technology, South Brisbane, Australia

There is fast-growing interest in the use of apps and online programs for mental health and wellbeing. Many allied health professionals are keen to recommend these to their patients but are unsure where to start and how to integrate into their practice.  We can feel overwhelmed by the large amount of online resources available so it is important to know how to find those which are evidence-based and reliable.

Many people do not receive face-to-face help for their mental health for a variety of reasons. Digital mental health resources can provide an easily accessible method of help and can be effective for people who have mild to moderate mental health issues or are going through difficult times. These resources also cover a range of health topics that impact wellbeing such as managing chronic pain or parenting support.

The Australian Government has funded the E-Mental Health in Practice (eMHPrac) project to raise awareness of digital mental health resources. The project provides free nationwide training and support to health practitioners about digital mental health and how to use these resources with clients. This training includes face-to-face workshops, awareness presentations and online webinars and modules. The project is led by Queensland University of Technology in collaboration with Black Dog Institute, Menzies School of Health Research and University Centre for Rural Health, University of Sydney.

This presentation will outline how to find and assess apps and online programs and resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of patients. It will also present features of the new Head to Health website which links people to trusted online and phone mental health services. There are some excellent resources available and the presentation will give some examples and also discuss how to integrate them into practice.


Biography:

Heidi Sturk is the Deputy Director of eMHPrac (e-Mental Health in Practice) at Queensland University of Technology. Heidi delivers national training and support on digital mental health resources to GPs, allied health practitioners and service providers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  She has a Masters in Organisational Psychology and 25 years’ experience in applied mental health research. Her areas of interest include how to integrate appropriate digital technologies into health care, rural and remote mental health, and wellbeing of health practitioners.

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