National safety and quality standards for digital mental health services

The Commission is undertaking a project, on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health, to develop national safety and quality standards and a certification framework for digital mental health services.

Background

For many people, interventions provided through digital mental health services can be effective as face-to-face services, and provide additional access and anonymity[1].

In 2018-19, the Commission spoke to consumers, carers, clinicians, service providers and experts about how to build user confidence, increase adoption rates, and enhance consumer and carer empowerment and choice in digital mental health services.

Stakeholders from across the digital mental health sector supported the development of national standards and a certification framework to support the safety and quality of digital mental health services.

The Commission heard that the success of a certification framework will depend on standards that are trusted and accepted by consumers, carers, clinicians and service providers.

Based on the consultation findings and a review of the literature, the next phase of this project will focus on the design and development of national standards and associated resources.

For further information on this project please refer to the documents below.

What is a digital mental health service?

The Commission defines a digital mental health service as a mental health, suicide prevention, or alcohol and other drugs service that uses technology to facilitate engagement and the delivery of care.

This includes information, digital counselling, treatment and peer to peer support services delivered via telephone, videoconference, websites, SMS, webchat, and mobile applications (apps).

You can access a range of digital mental health services on the Australian Government’s digital mental health gateway Head to Health.

Consultation

The Commission conducted a broad stakeholder consultation process during March and April 2019, including six face-to-face and three online workshops, and an online written survey. Face-to-face workshops were held in Orange, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.

Stakeholders were invited from across the sector including mental health consumers and carers, clinicians, service providers, peak bodies, PHNs, academics and government agencies, including stakeholders from all states and territories. Over 200 stakeholders attended a workshop or completed the online survey.

Based on the results of the consultation process, the Commission submitted a report to the Department in July 2019, recommending options for the design and development of a certification framework and national safety and quality standards for digital mental health services.

The Commission will continue to consult with consumers, carers, clinicians, service providers and technical experts during the next phase of this project with the focus on the development of the national safety and quality standards for digital mental health services.

Public consultation of the draft safety and quality standards is planned for March and April 2020.

Contact

For more information on the project please contact: Ben Prest, Senior Project Officer at: DMHS@safetyandquality.gov.au

 


[1] Department of Health. Australian Government Response to Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities – Review of Mental Health   Programmes and Services. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2015.