Telehealth has been an important alternative for the Australian health system since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, the new platform brings about new issues for many. With the spatial isolation due to social quarantine, people are riddled with anxiety and stress, pushing them to resort to mental health services that may add pressure to it.
Digital guidance is on hand
The increasing demand should be sufficed by the latest technologies.
Recently, Medicare, upon recognising the pressure on mental health services, came up with telehealth consultation through telephone and video-conference.
Australian mental healthcare system already utilised various digital platforms such as eHeadspace, moodgym, and Project Synergy to deal with the mental health care of the Australians.
This carved out a partnership with esteemed organisations in and out of the industry, and major universities.
In 1998, ReachOut was launched. It was the world’s pioneering online service that seeks to reduce suicide cases.
Slow consideration for telehealth services
Up to this date, there has been a small figure of people resorting to it.
This translates to inadequate access to the benefits of telehealth consultation, especially on mental health.
Moreover, Australia isn’t the only one who is suffering from such a problem as the World Economic Forum was able to highlight the huge gap of mental health care access to developing and developed countries.
Due to the transcending effects of recent events, the mental health of the people will continue to decline, translating to larger possible cases of suicide.
A boost to the system
The Australian government should allot huge investments for the betterment of the mental health system.
According to the Productivity Commission, the mental health care system of the country was not able to sustain investment in its services and does not have a centralised coordination to respond to the needs of the people.
Also, the focus should be on children and young adults.
The two distinct mental health systems of the country: state-based and private hospitals, were not able to suffice the needs of the people. The former was focused only on those who have severe cases while the latter is confined to those who have private health insurance.
This leaves the system closed to people who need the care.
A larger role of specialised workforce is needed with a mix of a multidisciplinary approach to the matter. This workforce must be distributed equally in outer urban areas including regional and rural districts.
Digital platform: a better response
Adapting to the changes should be recognised by the mental health system as well.
New technology brings a digital platform for use.
Utilising such material would guarantee quick access to people who are in need of attention and care.
Various online and digital interventions could be done to target people who need it the most.
Especially, for isolated places such as regional and rural communities, wherein mental health service seems to be inaccessible at all, the new platform can be implemented effectively and heavily.
Mental health care providers such as psychologists and psychiatrists in Australia take steps to connect with their patients online. And this seems to be a more efficient way given the present circumstance.
Digitalising mental health care is not just about small changes, it also enhances the provision of service.
A support system established by the new platform can engage the patient and give them better treatment.
In this matter, primary health networks should be able to maintain and coordinate the appropriate care provided.
Using the new platform could lead to better results as well as enabling the system to a larger spectrum of clinical care.
Lastly, the Australian government should take a stand regarding the matter, especially during this pandemic. Digital systems must play an important role in the health infrastructure in general to benefit those who are in disadvantaged positions.