NewAccess is an early intervention program designed to provide easily accessible, free and quality services for people with mild to moderate depression.
Now piloted in three sites – in Adelaide, the ACT and North Coast NSW – the beyondblue program showcases Flinders University’s role in training and supervision of new coaching workforce.
The free mental health coaching service offers coaching in Low Intensity Cognitive Behaviour for people experiencing mild to moderate anxiety or depression.
Developed and commissioned by not-for-profit organisation beyondblue, the program is delivering practical, stepped-care programs for depression and anxiety in the community.
With three million Australians living with depression or anxiety, beyondblue provides information and support to help everyone achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
The recently released Australian Government Response to Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities – Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services (www.health.gov.au, November 2015) refers to NewAccess:
“PHNs (private health networks) will also be encouraged and supported to work towards better utilisation of low intensity ‘coaching’ services for people with lesser needs, building on evaluations of programmes such as the NewAccess model of care, and the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies model of stepped care implemented in the United Kingdom.”
Flinders Head of Psychiatry, Professor Malcolm Battersby, praised beyondblue for having the vision to pilot the program following his proposal to the organisation to develop a service in Australia based on the UK Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) model.
Professor Battersby’s unit at Flinders was commissioned to train and supervise the NewAccess coaches and assist in recruiting them into the roles.
“The Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit is well placed to provide training and supervision for NewAccess coaches and clinics,” Professor Battersby said.
Paul Cromarty, who was recruited from the UK to lead the University’s IAPT program, said Flinders is equipped with the same expertise developed in the UK to deliver training and supervision tailored to build on the program’s success.
He says that NewAccess goes further than the UK in taking the decision to recruit graduates and non-graduates from a range of backgrounds into coaching roles to reflect the wider Australian community they serve.
Key performance indicators for NewAccess services include functional recovery, loss of diagnosis and return to employment as well as early intervention through reduced waiting times.
It is not offered to people on a mental health care plan therefore avoids duplication of resources. It instead offers a service that is community facing and positioned a step in front of existing mental health services. Many users self-refer via promotion on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, or via the beyondblue website.