NewAccess launched by beyondblue

Breakthrough mental health support for Brisbane North communities

A BREAKTHROUGH mental health coaching program is now available in Brisbane’s north for people experiencing early signs of anxiety and depression.

The free program – NewAccess – is an Australian first; a dynamic new approach to early intervention mental health support that will be launched at a special event in Herston on Wednesday, August 2.

NewAccess is funded by the Brisbane North PHN and delivered by the Mental Illness Fellowship Queensland (MIFQ) for local communities in Kilcoy to Bellbowrie. It was developed by beyondblue to overcome key issues that often prevent people from seeking mental health support, such as cost, lack of accessible support services and stigma.

Participants can choose to access the program in person, via a video App such as Skype or FaceTime or by phone and do not need referrals from health professionals – anyone over the age of 16 can refer themselves and regain control of their mental health.

They can access six private sessions with their own qualified coach who will tailor a recovery plan that suits their individual needs. Sessions are designed to be low in intensity so participants feel supported and can learn how to identify mental health triggers and implement a plan to overcome their symptoms.

NewAccess is not a crisis service and was designed to provide support, early, for people feeling overwhelmed, stressed, isolated and lonely before they hit a mental health crisis. In 2013-14, there were more than 1100 overnight hospital admissions in Brisbane North related to mental health conditions. Anxiety and stress disorders were among the top three reasons for those admissions.

NewAccess is operating at five sites nationally, and an independent evaluation report showed a 67.5 per cent recovery rate among those who completed the program.

beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman congratulated the Brisbane North PHN and MIFQ for their leadership and vision in providing an early intervention program that was truly accessible, in every way, to people in Brisbane’s north.

MIFQ acting CEO Jennifer Pouwer said MIFQ is underpinned by a Population Health Approach, focussed on supporting people with mental health concerns: “Early intervention and education are an integral part of achieving mental health and wellbeing in the community, so we are privileged to work with beyondblue and Brisbane North PHN to deliver NewAccess in Brisbane,” Ms Pouwer said.

Brisbane North PHN Executive Manager for Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Pauline Coffey said the NewAccess program was supported by funding from the Australian Government.

“NewAccess forms part of an expanded range of mental health, suicide prevention, and alcohol and other drug treatment services the PHN has recently commissioned across North Brisbane and the Moreton Bay region,” Ms Coffey said.

NewAccess background

  • NewAccess is free and available to anyone aged over 16.
  • It is not a mental health crisis service.
  • Coaches are trained in Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and will “step up” clients who require more intensive support.
  • NewAccess operates in South Australia, ACT, North Coast NSW, Murrumbidgee/Riverina region and in two Brisbane locations, with more sites expected to launch this year.
  • The national pilot program (South Australia, ACT, and North Coast NSW) was independently evaluated by Ernst and Young.
  • The NewAccess program may be helpful for new parents, people experiencing isolation, loneliness, unemployment and family problems among other stressful situations.
  • After contacting NewAccess, participants are immediately assessed to ensure suitability for the program and booked in for the first of up to six sessions with their own coach.
  • Participants can choose how and when they attend sessions and whether it’s in person, by phone, or via video Apps such as Skype and FaceTime.
  • At the final session, the coach and participant will evaluate progress together. Coaches may refer participants to other support services if necessary.
  • The program is based on the successful, evidence-based UK program Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT).

Contact NewAccess