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The mental health sector, consumer and care advocates have embraced new National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health Standards (NSQDMH), recently released by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

Dubbed as a ‘game changer’ the standards are designed to support the delivery of high quality and safe care including counselling, treatment and peer-to-peer support services via telephone, videoconferencing, websites, SMS, webchat and mobile apps. They encompass mental health, suicide prevention and other drug services.

Dr Peggy Brown AO, the Commission’s Senior Clinical Advisor who led the development of the NSQDMH Standards, said they were recognised as an important leap forward by service providers, clinicians and end users.

“It is more important than ever for Australians to have ready access to high-quality digital mental health services,” she said.

“The standards will engender more trust and confidence among consumers, carers and clinicians in Australia’s digital mental health services. Service providers will also benefit from having a quality framework to improve their delivery of digital mental healthcare.”

Professor Nick Titov, Executive Director, MindSpot, and Chair of the Commission’s Digital Mental Health Advisory Group, anticipates that the standards will help “ensure a high bar” for mental health services using digital platforms.

“By conducting a self-assessment based on the digital mental health standards, providers will quickly identify areas where improvement is required, resulting in improved safety and quality of care.”