The ECCO Project: An evaluation of an Internet-based service for depression in a telephone counselling setting.v

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Authors: Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra ACT Lifeline Australia

Year: 2010

Event: 2010 TheMHS Awards


Type of resource: TheMHS Awards

Award state: ACT

Award level: Finalist

Award category: E-Health Services

Abstract: Depression is a leading cause of disability burden in Australia and barriers such as cost and access to treatment can impede help-seeking. The ECCO project is a new service introduced into Australia’s national helpline, Lifeline, which aims to provide evidence-based help to those with little access to professional help for anxiety and depression. This service provides callers with a six week Internet program consisting of web-based cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and depression psychoeducation. A dedicated Lifeline telephone counsellor calls users of the service to support them in completing different components of the program week-by-week. The ECCO Project is the first evidence-based intervention implemented within the context of a telephone counselling service in Australia. The program maximises the workforce potential of the volunteer sector by providing an evidence-based program which can be delivered effectively by a lay facilitator with little training. The program significantly reduces depression and improves quality of life. Description of Facility/Organisation: The Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR) is a dynamic research group funded by competitive grants from government and not-for-profit sectors in Australia. CMHR specialises in mental health issues from an epidemiological and community perspective, and has a focus on e-health and prevention. The Centre consists of 17 academic staff, 26 research and administrative staff, 17 PhD students and 12 part-time interviewers, and collaborates with international and local experts in a range of specialist fields. The Centre’s mission is to produce population mental health research of the highest international standard. Lifeline Australia provides a free, 24 hour telephone counselling line that answers over 1,200 calls every day. Lifeline also receives over a million contacts each year from people needing care and support, either by telephone, the web or face-to-face. Lifeline has a presence in every state and territory, operating from hundreds of locations and delivering a range of services specific to the needs of local communities. The work of Lifeline is made possible by over 11,000 volunteers and 1,000 staff.

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