Developed in Australia by Beyond Blue, the program was found to improve the condition of the majority of people who use it, study author Professor Michael Baigent, of Flinders University, said.
Results from the study, which included 3946 participants from three NewAccess sites located in metropolitan and regional parts of Australia, showed seven out of 10 people who used NewAccess reported a significant reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms.
“At a time when demand for mental health support is growing, these research findings make a strong case for the immediate, widespread rollout of evidence-based low intensity services such as NewAccess,” Baigent said.
Offering one-on-one sessions with coaches who have been trained in low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy, NewAccess is available at 11 sites around Australia, supporting almost 12,000 people since 2013.
Beyond Blue CEO, Georgie Harman, said if the program were rolled out nationally, it would employ a workforce of up to 100 mental health coaches, allowing other mental health professionals to focus on supporting people with more complex needs.
“Low intensity supports simplify access, reduce the cost of treatment and overcome the social stigma that for many people persists around support-seeking,” Harman said.
“Importantly, models like NewAccess employ new workforces at a time when so many Australians need more jobs.
“Demand for preventative and early intervention mental health and wellbeing support is growing and we expect more of that in the months and years that follow the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many of the solutions to meet record demand lie in matching a person’s needs to the type of service on offer, how it’s delivered and who delivers it.
“And with real-time measurement of recovery rates, NewAccess is proven, works for people and is ready to scale.
“What this tells us is that more of the same is not necessarily the answer.
“It tells us we need to think differently if we are to support the population’s mental health and wellbeing now and into the future,” she said.
More than three million Australians experience anxiety and depression each year, with the Productivity Commission estimating that up to 450,000 Australians would be served better by low intensity supports than clinical services.