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Website to help manage high rates of anxiety

The federal government and the Black Dog institute have launched an e-health initiative to support those living with anxiety.

As more Australians turn to the internet for medical help, a new federally-funded website is offering tools and tips to those battling anxiety and depression.

The interactive self-help website - mycompass.org.au - was launched by the Black Dog Institute and the federal government yesterday.

The developer, Professor Judy Proudfoot, says it's designed to help people suffering anxiety, stress or depression who may not seek help because of a lack of time, lack of access to face-to-face services or a fear of stigma.

"Research clearly shows that early psychological intervention can reverse mild to moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety," she said.

The website taps into this research by providing an interactive program that includes online psychological tools, round-the-clock monitoring of moods and behaviours and motivational tips via email and SMS.

"It provides a suite of simple strategies that will educate people to self-monitor and self-manage unhelpful thoughts and behaviour," Proudfoot said.

"It's easy to access and simple to understand so you can improve your long-term mental health while you're waiting for the bus or having lunch."

As four in five Australians turn to the web for information about their health, Federal Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler said it was critical to develop online tools that provide good information and advice.

"Anything we can do to help people take the first step in asking for help is a good thing," Butler said.

According to the Black Dog Institute more than three million Australians experience some form of mental illness each year, with the majority of cases involving anxiety and depression.


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