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Australians living with mental illness are a step closer to being able to access online care and support following the establishment of a new e-mental health expert committee which will advise on the rollout of the nation's first mental health online portal and virtual clinic.
'Continuing advances in technology are revolutionising the way we provide health care, in particular for patients with chronic illnesses and conditions, such as mental illness,' Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said. 'Online mental health services provide an alternative form of support or care for people and have the potential to overcome geographical, attitudinal and financial barriers which we know that young Australians or people living in remote or regional areas often face.'
The Gillard Government is providing $48 million in funding over the next 5 years for telephone counselling, self-help and web-based support services to boost efforts in mental health prevention and early intervention. Professor Pat Dudgeon, Chair of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association and head of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University will be joining the committee.