Abstract: Mental health service delivery to children in rural and remote areas faces many challenges including attracting and retaining staff, continuity of care, poor accessibility and limited consumer choice. Royal Far West has teamed with a number of different service partners in health and education seeking solutions to meeting the mental health needs of children in rural and remote areas With improvements in internet capacity across Australia, internet based therapy has become a viable mode of delivery for mental health services. Royal Far West has developed a number of innovations in telecare including mixed mode service delivery, gamification of therapy resources and introduced interactive, child friendly therapy packages to ensure children are offered engaging and stimulating interventions. A randomised controlled trial of telecare vs face to face demonstrated that the outcomes for internet based therapy are comparable to face to face delivery. Consumer satisfaction evaluations have demonstrated that the services are well received, and in some instances preferred. Further, our service partners have been able to provide mental health services to those children who would not otherwise be able to access services. To conclude, internet based service delivery models are safe, effective, consumer friendly, accessible and provide service choice to children in rural and remote regions of Australia.
Stevenson, Caroline, Crawford, Alexandra, McCann, Darya, Everett, Michael, Casburn, Kim, Morrison, Lucy, Newsom-Smith, Emma, Burchfield, Katherine, 2019, Mental health service delivery in rural and remote regions: can telecare partnerships meet the needs of children?, Conference Paper, viewed 18 February 2020, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=15300.