Mental health help at fingertips with new digital tool - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Mental health help at fingertips with new digital tool

4 Dec 2019

A free digital tool that connects residents to mental health and suicide prevention services on the Sunshine Coast has been launched by USC’s Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute.

 iHelp Sunshine Coast brings together in one place the extensive range of help that is available locally and nationally, including crisis support, mental health professionals and peer support groups.

Thompson Institute Director Jim Lagopoulos said iHelp was created because “when a person needs help for their mental health, it is vital that it be easy to find”.

“From today, anyone on the Sunshine Coast experiencing a mental health issue, or even a crisis, has local services all in one place at their fingertips on iHelp,” he said.

Professor Lagopoulos said research conducted by the Thompson Institute found that 64 percent of residents believed there were not enough mental health resources available on the Sunshine Coast and community consultation identified a gap in the ease of finding help.

“iHelp lists hundreds of professional and community-based services available on the Sunshine Coast that cater for a wide range of individual needs,” he said.

“Whether a person notices early that their mental health needs attention or whether they are nearing or at a crisis point, it is very important that they can find help quickly and easily, and iHelp exists to help anyone do that.

“We want to help our community to be well connected to mental health services, as this increases their resilience, supports them to thrive and, very importantly, can prevent heartbreaking losses to suicide.”

iHelp was developed as a part of the institute’s The Alliance for Suicide Prevention project by award-winning social enterprise Community Information Support Services.

The digital tool:

  • Connects people experiencing a crisis to immediate help
  • Find services that match a person’s needs, including their location, age, gender, cultural background and desired service-type, such as peer support or inpatient services
  • Give information that demystifies seeking help, such as what to expect from crisis support lines, emergency services and the range of mental health support services.

iHelp is available as an app on iOS and Android mobile devices or online at thealliance.org.au/ihelp

Dr Amanda Clacy and Professor Jim Lagopoulos launch the iHelp app at Thompson Institute

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