How do I support someone using e-hub programs?

For more information on how you can support someone using e-hub programs, click on the link which best describes you:

Information for mental health professionals

e-hub programs are designed to allow consumers access to high-quality therapy skills training resources in their own community and while working with therapists of their choice.

Mental health professionals are invited to incorporate the programs into their practice as self-help (for example within a stepped care service), as guided self-help or as adjuncts to other therapies.

Resources such as moodgym and ecouch can be used in individual or group interventions and at any point during recovery. A Clinician Manual is available for moodgym. See Resources for more information.

It may be helpful to consider the following at the beginning of therapy:

Clinician contact

At a minimum, the clinician would provide an initial assessment and orientation to the program, a follow-up when the user has completed the program, and be accessible while the person is completing the program. Additional follow-ups are often arranged during the program to assess the users' satisfaction with the program and to monitor their progress. These may be arranged after certain milestones are reached (time elapsed, modules completed) or at the client's discretion.

Direct clinician contact may be face-to-face or through distal modes such as telephone, email or videoconferencing, but clinicians should only use those modalities for which they have suitable expertise, including an understanding of the security implications of different technologies.

Criteria for withdrawal or for suggesting alternative treatment:

As in all interventions, it is important to have a means of monitoring the user's progress and be able to suggest alternative treatments if the treatment is not suitable or if the person's situation or functioning has deteriorated.

Access to information

Information can be downloaded from the programs by users and printed out and supplied to the therapist. This includes data from depression and anxiety symptom questionnaires as well as responses to some exercises. Users decide which information to provide to therapists and it is recommended that this be negotiated at the beginning of therapy.

Crisis support

The development of a plan for crisis support remains the responsibility of treating clinicians. e-hub programs provide contact information for emergency services in Australia, but e-hub programs are automated resources and do not provide crisis support.

e-hub does not provide in-house clinicians to support users.

Information for other health professionals

People experiencing emotional distress and mental health difficulties often seek support from professionals with whom they have an existing relationship such as teachers, youth workers, human resource professionals, nurses, pharmacists and a range of other allied health workers. This may occur more frequently in places where mental health professionals are less available and/or consulting a different type of professional is regarded as more socially acceptable.

Even without specialist training, professionals may provide support and help people to access appropriate assessment and services.

Professionals can support others by having an understanding of basic information about mental health, being aware of key services, and by making high quality self-help resources available. Professional development training is available for those interested in developing their knowledge of mental health. This can be accessed via professional associations and useful resources are available online such as the Mental Health First Aid website.

Professionals without mental health training might like to:

  • Explore the resources available through e-hub
  • Let people know that e-hub programs are available for self-help.

Information for teachers and youth workers

Why use the programs?

Increasingly, online mental health interventions are being seen as a way of delivering effective help to large numbers of people and to have particular promise in the prevention and early treatment of problems. Mental health problems often emerge early in life and young people are a particular target of prevention and early intervention.

Many people already seek mental health support from the internet. In Australia, young people seek help from the internet more frequently than they use any other source of help apart from family and friends (Mission Australia). Other research has shown that young people may be more likely to use the internet if they are seeking support and information about stigmatised conditions and if they are very distressed.

It is important to ensure that people seeking support on the internet have access to high quality sites based on the best available evidence. e-hub programs are internationally recognised and subject to rigorous ongoing research and evaluation (see Research evidence). They are free for use by Australians and can be used anonymously at any time.

The self-help design of the e-hub programs means that they are less vulnerable to classroom dynamics than many other programs. If there sufficient computers, students can participate in the programs and maintain their privacy, even within a group setting.

Programs such as moodgym and e-couch are designed to work as stand alone self-help programs and one of their aims is to assist people to access other services as required. They contain suggestions about accessing other forms of help and link to the service directories on BluePages.

In group settings such as school classes, facilitators may wish to also provide information about other services such as emergency and crisis support, local face-to-face services (eg, GPs, school counselling services and youth centres).

How have the programs been used in educational settings?

moodgym and e-couch have been used in various ways in educational settings such as secondary schools, colleges, TAFEs and universities. Uses include:

  • Publicising the programs within the school and parent community, for example via newsletters, providing links to the programs from student and staff health and wellbeing webpages.
  • Introduction of the programs into curricula about mental health
  • Completion (of moodgym) as a class or group exercise
  • Guided self-help, or use with other interventions, with selected students working with welfare teachers, counsellors youth workers and guidance officers.

There is a range of ways in which the material in moodgym can be extended in this context. For example, young people might be asked to explore media stories, popular music lyrics and other contemporary culture to find additional examples of the thinking patterns illustrated in moodgym.

Which programs are suitable for young people?

In educational settings, moodgym is used most frequently and this reflects the available research. BluePages may be useful as information and research resources.

Information for carers and other support workers

If you are a carer or support worker, you might like to suggest that the person you are caring for explore e-hub programs as a self-help resource.

It will help if you know a bit about the programs before you suggest them. You can use BluePages without registering and you can register a user account on moodgym and e-couch.

It is also important to know about other types of help.

You might also find it helpful to look how the programs might be used at different times in the recovery process, the e-hub frequently asked questions, and research evidence on the effectiveness of e-hub programs.