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New research has reaffirmed the value of a telehealth service that provides advice on cognitive behaviour, according to the university who helped design the program.

MindStep, a phone service operated by trained mental health coaches, was designed by researchers at Flinders University and is operated through a partnership with Remedy Healthcare.

With guidance from the coaches, users living with anxiety and depression can receive assistance that is designed to compliment existing services that are accessing from a GP, psychologist or psychiatrist.

New research, It’s what’s under the hood that counts: comparing therapeutic outcomes when using Australian versus UK-produced clinical materials in an Australian mental health program, published in the Australian Health Review has found that 75% of people who completed the program have shown a demonstrable “improvement in their mental health”.

The same paper also revealed the mental health coaches who operate the service have achieved recovery rates of “up to 60%”, while 58% of users experiencing more severe anxiety and depression symptoms had “reliable improvement”.

Senior Lecturer and Psychologist Dr Anthony Venning based at Flinders University, said the findings were especially relevant given to the current alterations made to mental health services created by COVID-19.

“These findings are particularly pertinent with COVID-19 changing the landscape of mental health service delivery, requiring greater flexibility in the use of tele-services to ensure access to effective mental health care for populations that may already experience problems with isolation, access and service engagement,” Dr Venning said.

Ruby Wolinska, a mental health coach who works as part of the MindStep program, echoed the sentiments of the paper.

“Clients benefit from learning practical ways of managing their own mental health and wellbeing, demonstrating increased confidence and self-efficacy within a brief intervention,” says Ms Wolinska.

“A great advantage of the program lies in its flexibility, being able to attend appointments from home or whilst travelling. In addition to promoting new skills for managing mental health symptoms during MindStep, the materials also promote wellbeing beyond the program’s conclusion.”

More information about MindStep can be found at Remedy Health’s website, while the research paper can be found here.