Charity takes mental health fight online


In a world first, Kids Helpline is launching a new form of mental health support for Australian teenagers.

The project aims to provide safe and secure online group counselling via social media.

Alexander Heinke reports.

TRANSCRIPT:

It’s i-Help for the i-Generation.

Kids Helpline, funded by the BoysTown charity, has joined Sydney University to launch an online counselling system for Australian youth.

Using social media, teenagers and young children will be able to participate in peer-to-peer support facilitated by professional counsellors.

John Dalgleish, BoysTown: “This really is world first research this is right on the cutting edge of innovation.”

Using the Google Plus social networking platform, young people who contact Kids Helpline will be assessed.

If appropriate, they’ll be directed to secure social networking areas for their age group for counselling sessions.

The project comes in response to the gap in services and growing demand to migrate e-mental health support online.

This online project could signal the future for mental health support not only in Australia, but internationally as well.

John Dalgleish, Boystown: “Potentially for many other young people in other nations so the learning from this project will certainly be disseminated to others.”

Mr Dalgleish says one in three Australian children will suffer some form of mental health issue.

He says Kids Helpline research has found the peer-to-peer approach to counselling is the most successful.

Any youths needing help or support for mental health issues should contact Kids Helpline.

Alexander Heinke, QUT News.