OBJECTIVE: The MindSpot Clinic provides online mental health services to Australian adults with anxiety and depression. This paper describes users of MindSpot between January 2013 and June 2015. Outcomes are considered against three key objectives: improving access to mental health services, improving public awareness of how to access services and providing evidence-based treatments.
METHOD: Website traffic data were examined to determine patterns of use. Demographic characteristics, past service utilisation and reasons for contacting MindSpot were analysed. Outcomes for patients enrolled in a MindSpot treatment course were also analysed. Primary outcomes were scores on the 9-Item Patient Health Questionnaire, Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-Item, Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian Version, administered at assessment, post-treatment and 3-month follow-up.
RESULTS: The website was visited by almost 500,000 Australians, of which 33,990 adults started assessments, and 25,469 people completed assessment and were eligible for analysis. Mean age was 36.4 years (standard deviation = 13.3 years; range = 18-94 years), and 72% were female. The proportion living in rural or remote regions and who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander closely matched national statistics. The majority (82%) reported that they were not currently in contact with mental health services. Most patients sought an assessment, information about treatment options, or referral to another service, and only 24% of those completing an assessment commenced a MindSpot treatment course. Of these, large clinical effects (d: 0.7-2.4; average symptom reductions: 25.5% to 61.6%) were found from assessment to follow-up on all outcome measures. Deterioration ranged from 1.0% to 4.3%.
CONCLUSION: Based on the number of website visits, completed assessments and treatment outcomes, MindSpot achieved its three programme objectives. This model of service provision has considerable value as a complement to existing services, and is proving particularly important for improving access for people not using existing services.
- cognitive behaviour therapy
- Internet treatment
- service implementation