Over half of Australians have sought treatment for a mental illness, with certain demographics more affected than others. According to the Publicis Sapient Digital Government Research, which surveyed a demographically accurate range of the population, including age groups and income status, many of these people said they would be more likely to seek help if it was available online.
Supporting Mental Health with Digital Government Services
72 percent of people with a mental health condition said that an online consultation for this condition would make them more likely to reach out for help.
Need for co-design and cooperation
Addressing mental health issues is going to need a lot of different interventions and digital will have a role to play. It will be critical to co-design different digital government services with different groups, including varying demographics and types of mental health issues, to ensure digital services are appropriately targeted and driving value.
Support services may take a range of forms, from one-on-one telehealth consultations to online support groups. Some services may be fully automated self-help programmes, while others involve more professional guidance.
Co-design is vital for understanding why people aren’t currently using services and encouraging them to access them. For example, digital mental health services may be particularly critical in rural and regional communities where face-to-face support is less available. But other groups may have issues around the stigma of reaching out, or privacy concerns. People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds may face a lack of cultural understanding and/or language barriers.
Research by mental health support service Beyond Blue estimates that 45 percent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, but based on our research, this figure is likely even higher. This represents a huge human, social and economic cost.
Digital government services can play a key role in supporting Australians with mental health treatment. With Australians more willing to embrace digital services than ever, there is an important opportunity for the government to further expand services and bring huge benefits to citizens.