Melbourne researchers are trialling a digital program in Victoria’s specialist mental health services.
The project, the Self-Management and Recovery Technology (SMART) research program, aims to empower people with serious mental illness to advance their recovery by self-managing. The online resource has been developed for use on tablet computers during face-to-face consultations. Users will also be able to access information on their own on a home computer or mobile phone.
“One of the recommendations highlighted in the [recent National Mental Health Commission’s] report is using innovative technologies to help people manage their own mental health problems, and that’s exactly what our research is all about,” said project lead Dr Neil Thomas, director of the National e-Therapy Centre at Swinburne University of Technology.
“The internet provides a key means of empowering people in promoting their own recovery, as well as empowering mental health staff with the right tools to help their clients.”
Mark David, a participant in the pilot study, said he benefited from the program.
“I was having trouble managing my illness and felt very much in a rut, to the point I was spending days in bed sleeping, totally messed up and withdrawing from everyone,” David said. “I was referred to the SMART program and within a short time started to feel the positive effects of it. I started feeling better about myself and life in general.”
The program is running in partnership with the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria, Alfred Health, Mind Australia, NorthWestern Mental Health, St Vincent’s Mental Health, and La Trobe and Deakin universities.
Health editor Dallas Bastian spoke with Thomas about the program, the benefits of self-management and the results of previous trials.
Click below to hear the full interview with Neil Thomas.Do you have an idea for a story?
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