A free mental health program developed by beyondblue, funded by the Commonwealth Government via the Gold Coast Primary Health Network (PHN) and delivered by Bolton Clarke is available now for Gold Coast residents.
The program – NewAccess – launched in Southport today (8 June) and is available to locals aged 16 and over who are struggling with work, personal life challenges or feel anxious or overwhelmed.
Between 2013-14, almost 5000 people in the Gold Coast area were admitted to hospital for mental health related issues and more than 800 people were hospitalised after intentionally self-harming.
NewAccess supports people with early signs of anxiety or depression in a non-clinical environment.
The Australian-first mental health coaching program pairs people with a trained coach and removes the most common barriers preventing access to mental health support – cost, stigma and a lack of local services.
It also helps reduce the strain on primary care services that treat people who require more specialised treatment.
Coaching sessions can be accessed in person or by phone, which ensures confidentiality and convenience, and each session is private so people feel safe when opening up about difficult issues.
Coaches work one-on-one with people during six free sessions to help them understand the issues triggering their distress and give them the skills and tools to manage those issues.
NewAccess coaches are trained in Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and develop tailored recovery plans for each person, empowering them so they can take control of their mental health.
It’s important to note that NewAccess is not a crisis service; it is an early intervention program that supports people as early as possible.
beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said the idea and purpose behind NewAccess was simple.
“We’re making it easier for people to access quality mental health support early, so they don’t hit crises down the track,” Ms Harman said.
“Because NewAccess is free, private and convenient, it often appeals to people who might otherwise be reluctant to reach out for help, such as men.”
Bolton Clarke Executive General Manager Brand and Business Development Dan Woods said the service supported the organisation’s mission to provide relief to people in distress.
“A common element across our services base is supporting health, wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and communities in whatever way is appropriate,” Mr Woods said.
“NewAccess gives voice to people who don’t have it, access to people previously unable to receive it and meaningful results to people who are deserving of support.
“Over the last couple of years, in other NewAccess sites, our coaches have worked with people of all ages, often coping with life transitions, from leaving school to leaving the workforce, and we look forward to seeing the same success in the Gold Coast region.”
Gold Coast PHN CEO Matthew Carrodus said the PHN is funding NewAccess because the area needs an effective low-intensity mental health service.
“There are more than 77,000 people in the Gold Coast community with mild to moderate mental conditions who can benefit from the program,” Mr Carrodus said.