Lifeline’s trial of their text helpline has exceeded expectations, by successfully targeting young Australians and under-represented groups who are struggling with their mental health.
Despite suicide being the leading cause of death among Australians aged 18-24, only 7% of Lifeline’s contacts for it’s traditional services are from this group. However, people under 25 made up a whopping 54% of contacts from their new texting service.
Users claimed the significant privacy, anonymity and barrier of a screen between them and the volunteer allowed them to feel safer, more in control and more confident about opening up.
“There was a very high level of disclosure and it happened quite quickly in these conversations compared to the phone conversations” said Dr Kate Williams, senior research fellow at the Australian Health Services Research Institute.
One person who used the service found texting a more manageable and straightforward way of sharing their thoughts, saying ‘ I didn’t want to cry on the phone the entire time’.
Almost half of the users said they would not have sought any help if the texting line wasn’t available. This is a significant statistic, given that 29% of text conversations mentioned suicide.
The service also managed to reach under represented groups that often have difficulty accessing traditional counselling. These included men, who experience death by suicide 3 times more than females, regional and remote dwellers, people with a disability and Indigenous Australians.
Lifeline is now seeking funding to operate the service 24/7.
This helpline mirrors the texting service ‘Shout’ launched in the UK this year by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Shout has achieved similar results, proving text to be one of the best methods of reaching young people who are facing a mental health crisis.
Coviu released our very own ‘snapchat-like’ text only feature earlier this year following our partnership with Swinburne University. Studies suggested a whopping 85% of tertiary students recognised a potential for mental health assistance, yet only a fraction actually followed through.
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.
We are proud to empower healthcare providers by offering them clinical tools within their virtual practice. These tools assist with the diagnosis and care of their clients and patients remotely.
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Need Help? Call Lifeline – 13 11 14