Authors: Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD), St Vincent’s Hospital and University of New South Wales
Event: 2010 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Winner
Award category: E-Health Services
Abstract: More than 2 million Australians suffer anxiety or depression each year, but only a minority access effective treatment. At the same time, increasing numbers of Australians have access to the Internet. The VirtualClinic (www.virtualclinic.org.au) is a joint initiative of St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, and the University of New South Wales. We aim to help reduce the burden of common mental disorders by developing and evaluating Internet-based education and treatment programs for anxiety and depression. Since 2007, we have developed and tested programs for depression, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. The results of our programs are excellent: The clinical outcomes are similar to those obtained from face-to-face treatment, consumers and carers report the programs are very acceptable, and the programs are cost-effective. Self-guided programs for anxiety and depression are now being tested, and once ready, will also be freely available. Description of Facility/Organisation: The VirtualClinic is a joint initiative of the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD) at St Vincent’s Hospital (SVH) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW). In 2007 we had a staff of 2. Our team now consists of 6 full-time equivalents, including clinicians, researchers, students, and IT staff. Since 2007 we have obtained grants from UNSW and the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund, and more recently from beyondblue and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), with ongoing support from SVH and UNSW. Since 2007, we have treated more than 1200 people from every state and territory in Australians, at no expense to consumers. We are currently treating 200 people, and expect to treat more than 1000 in 2010, and more than 2000 in 2011. We also hope to inspire and teach others how to provide evidence-based mental health services to consumers and carers.