Research shows that recovery times for these conditions improve when people get early access to support.
Unfortunately many Australians, especially men and people in rural and regional areas, don’t take action until their condition becomes severe.
Now a free mental-health coaching program removes barriers to treatment for mild depression and anxiety.
The program, called NewAccess, has been co-funded by the Movember Foundation.
It has the potential to help everyone who experiences mild depression or anxiety simply by improving access to treatment.
NewAccess has recruited a group of north-coast coaches, who have been trained to create individually tailored programs for clients.
The introduction of NewAccess to the NSW north coast means that anyone who lives here can pick up the phone, book an appointment with a coach and be on their way to receiving self-help strategies that will help them tackle their mild depression or anxiety, according to Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell.
The program, which has already seen more than 90 people through its doors since starting two months ago, will be officially launched today in Coffs Harbour.
But will it provide coaching to people north to Tweed Heads and west as far as Lismore.
Movember Foundation Australia director Jeremy Macvean said, ‘Much like you would enlist the support of a personal trainer to overcome a physical injury, the coaches available through NewAccess work with participants to develop a tailored program that will support their return to mentally fitness’.
‘We believe it is this easily accessible, practical approach that will appeal to Aussie blokes and see positive results for many.
Mr Macvean said, ‘The Movember Foundation is committed to investing in programs that encourage men who experience mental health problems to take action early’.
‘To this end, we’re proud to mark our single biggest program investment to date, with a program that does just that.’
If the pilot program is successful, Beyondblue will approach the federal government for ongoing funding.
Ms Carnell said, ‘because NewAccess is a free program and can be accessed through self-referral it makes accessing treatment for mild depression or anxiety much easier’.
‘By removing these barriers it will help hundreds, if not thousands, of people along the NSW north coast who otherwise may have suffered in silence, while complementing existing mental health services.
‘NewAccess is based on a successful UK program, which demonstrated that low-intensity approaches can work as well as traditional ones for people with mild depression or anxiety.
‘We have identified a need for it in Australia because, despite a recent rise in support-seeking among the three million Australians who live with depression or anxiety, more than half still don’t seek appropriate support.
‘In turn, we expect this to boost support-seeking and see more people recover from these conditions quicker.’
The $13.5 million program is funded with $8.15 million from strategic investor the Movember Foundation and the remainder from Beyondblue.
To learn more about NewAccess or to refer yourself, visit www.beyondblue.org.au/newaccess.