Orygen is set to roll out its innovative digital mental health support platform for young people in Queensland following an $8 million funding announcement today by Queensland’s Minister for Health, Yvette D’Ath.
The Queensland Government and Children’s Hospital Foundation have pledged to make the platform available through seven Queensland Hospital and Health Services and partnering headspace centres, to augment face-to-face care.
The platform, called MOST (Moderated Online Social Therapy) is being launched in the state as a two-year trial.
The evidence-based platform is the world’s first digital mental health solution to offer 24/7 integrated face-to-face and online therapy, tools and programs for young people experiencing mental ill-health.
Designed by Orygen, Australia’s centre of excellence in youth mental health, MOST harnesses technology to address gaps in existing mental healthcare models, providing on-demand support from any internet-enabled device.
Orygen executive director Professor Patrick McGorry said the funding by the state government and Children’s Hospital Foundation had come at a crucial time for young Queenslanders.
“The demand for youth mental health care has never been greater. MOST’s integration of digital mental health technology with clinical services helps us address the gaps in existing care models so young people get the support they need, when they need it, at all stages of their mental health journey,” he said.
“The uncertainties and service demand created by COVID-19 highlight the importance of re-thinking how we deliver care to young people suffering mental ill-health – and MOST’s blended model of care is changing the way we help them access much-needed mental health support.”
Orygen Digital director Professor Mario Alvarez-Jimenez said MOST had been developed in partnership with young people and their families and was backed by more than a decade of research, clinical expertise, trials and technical innovation.
“MOST is unique in the way it blends engaging, proven online therapeutic content and care with existing youth mental health services to deliver therapy that really connects with young people,” he said.
In addition to the $8m pilot, youth mental health service provider Brisbane South Primary Health Network has contributed $500,000 to trial MOST at four of their key sites from the beginning of this year. This means MOST digital therapy will be made available through 19 Queensland services.
“We’re excited that young people in Queensland will now get to experience this on-demand support from their mobile phone, tablet or computer – when and where they need it.”
The Queensland Hospital and Health Services rolling out MOST are: Metro South; Children’s Health Queensland; Wide Bay; North West; Central Queensland; West Moreton; and Darling Downs.
Initially trialled in Victoria, access to MOST was rapidly expanded last year as part of the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 community support response, where it has created Australia’s first network of digitally-enhanced youth mental health services. The platform is also being extended to New South Wales and the ACT.
In October, MOST won a TheMHS’s Mental Health Service award for excellence, innovation and best practice in therapeutic and clinical services for its contribution to improving the mental health of young Australians.
The awards are presented each year to services across Australia and New Zealand.
For more information about MOST, see www.orygen.org.au/hellomost