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Coviu’s partnership with Swinburne university brings ‘Snapchat-like’ mental health service to students

A 2016 Headspace report revealed significant insights into the mental health of tertiary students in Australia. A whopping 85% of students recognised a potential need for help, yet barriers such as worrying what other people would think or being too embarrassed to ask for help affected 1 in 5 students.

With statistics like these, it’s not surprising that tertiary institutions, such as Melbourne’s Swinburne University, are looking for ways to improve mental health care and access among students.

Swinburne approached Coviu late 2018, initially being interested in our WebRTC video telehealth platform. Once discussions began, it became clear that students needed something even more accessible, private and discreet. Thus, the idea for a text-only feature was born.

Coviu’s development team worked hard to create a new interface with snap-chat like abilities, where patients can text with their clinicians in real-time, yet the conversation is not stored and simply ‘vanishes’ once the session ends. The text interface still allows for the use of clinical tools Coviu offers during video consultations, such as file sharing and a shared whiteboard feature.

Coviu's text-chat interface
Coviu’s text chat interface

Since its rollout on Swinburne’s Mental Health Online service in March, the text- chat feature has become one of the most common modalities used by clients, according to Dr Liz Seabrook, Digital Mental Health Fellow at Swinburne. “For many clients, a real-time text chat session is a practical first step into talking with a health practitioner, which for some can be quite confronting,” she says. The service is free and available to all Australians.

In addition to this text-chat collaboration, telehealth education via Coviu’s platform is now embedded in multiple areas of Swinburne’s health curriculum such as psychology, nursing, and occupational therapy. 

Coviu MHO Chat Swinburne - laptop
Coviu’s text chat can be used on a range of devices

“Having our students prepared for a workforce where healthcare is increasingly delivered remotely is imperative and something that is at the core of digital health’s future in Australia. We need graduates that are comfortable using this technology and Swinburne will produce them,” says Dr Mark Merolli, Academic Director of Digital Health and Informatics.

“Health and digital technology go hand in hand, and this partnership reflects Swinburne’s commitment to being a leader in digital health and our passion for innovation in all aspects of teaching, training and research.”

Coviu’s text-only interface is now available as an add-on to professional packages here. For more information about the text chat feature, click here

If you have any questions about Coviu’s software or are thinking about implementing telehealth into your practice, contact us today.