MindSpot, MQ Health, Macquarie University

MindSpot, MQ Health, Macquarie University has been recognised for Outstanding Achievement in The Australian Charity Awards 2021. The Australian Charity Award for Outstanding Achievement [OAA] recognises charitable organisations that have achieved outstanding results through initiatives that have significantly benefited charitable causes.

“Every year, millions of Australians struggle to access mental health care. We built the MindSpot Clinic to improve access to practical, effective and person-centered psychological services. Our services are informed by clinical research, designed with consumers, and delivered by expert mental health professionals using state-of-the-art software. Fundamentally, we have sought to build a service which we would want our own family and friends to use.”

Professor Nick Titov, Executive Director (and Founding Director), MindSpot Clinic

Each year, millions of Australians struggle with symptoms of anxiety and depression. While excellent treatments exist, due to stigma, geographical and financial barriers, many people struggle to access psychological care.

With the aim of improving access to evidence-based care, in 2007 Professor Nick Titov began a series of clinical trials to treat symptoms of mental disorders using digital tools and telephony. Based on the success of these clinical trials and with funding from the Australian Department of Health, Professors Nick Titov and Blake Dear, along with national and international experts in mental health and national Australian NGO partners including Beyond Blue, launched the MindSpot Clinic in late 2012.

The overall aim of MindSpot was to deliver high quality digital psychological services at no cost to consumers. The clinical service model was based on well-established clinical techniques, modified for digital delivery. Consumers register, complete online questionnaires about themselves, their symptoms and needs, and then receive an Assessment Report. They can then choose to speak to a MindSpot therapist and can access 8-week treatment courses to help them learn to manage symptoms or receive information to help them self-manage. Following consumer consent reports are provided to GPs or other nominated health professionals to facilitate integration with other health services.

MindSpot is unique from other mental health services in several ways. First, it serves consumers from across Australia and offshore islands, using digital tools. Second, it employs and trains expert therapists via the MindSpot Academy, a training program developed by MindSpot with the aim of supporting the development of a national digitally skilled mental health workforce. Third, it measures and transparently reports the outcomes of clinical services to the Australian Department of Health and publishes results in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the Lancet Digital Health. These results consistently show that at least 95% of consumers would refer a friend, and that on average a person’s symptoms reduce by 50% over treatment, with results sustained for at least 3 months after treatment. Fourth, MindSpot is continually developing or improving clinical services, to better meet evolving consumer needs.

The success of the MindSpot Clinic is a result of multiple factors, including a commitment by everyone in the organisation to provide the highest standard of services to people across Australia. In addition, every effort is made to ensure that the clinical and technical governance meets or exceeds national standards, and that the governance of MindSpot, led by MQ Health Pty Ltd, the health services arm of Macquarie University is both robust and flexible.

In its first year MindSpot provided services to 3,500 Australians. It now serves more than 30,000 Australians each year and in total, it has provided services to more than 160,000 Australians, many of whom would not otherwise have received care. The team at MindSpot look forward to continuing to champion a new and effective model of mental health service.

For more information on MindSpot, visit mindspot.org.au

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