Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Telehealth: Bringing Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services to Rural Communities

Telehealth: Bringing Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services to Rural Communities

Overview

This Commonwealth Rural Health Support, Education and Training  (RHSET) funded project aimed to establish, conduct and evaluate a telehealth trial for the provision of consultation, training and support services in relation to child and adolescent mental health, to mental health, health and other professionals, in rural and remote areas of South Australia and Northern Territory in the period 1998-2000.

Key objectives of the project were:

  • to improve the accessibility of rural and remote health and other providers to specialist child and adolescent mental health consultation and support, and ongoing training and education through the use of telehealth technology
  • to establish telehealth networks between service providers in rural and remote communities
  • to evaluate the effectiveness of telehealth as a strategy for providing a broad range of services, related to child and adolescent mental health, to rural and remote areas.

Background

The report into The National Inquiry into the Human Rights of People with Mental Illness 1993, repeatedly received evidence regarding the inadequacy of mental health service in rural Australia, as this quote indicates

  • The irony is that many of the areas where the need is greatest, the services are fewest, this is particularly the point in small country communities where mental health services - and certainly mental health services for children and adolescents - are almost entirely non existent.

The report also noted that training and support for mental health, health and other professionals involved in working with children and adolescents with mental health problems in rural and remote areas were totally inadequate. Women’s and Children’s Hospital Division of Mental Health undertook the two year project to improve the delivery of mental health services to children and adolescents in rural and remote areas through the use of Telehealth teleconferencing and internet technologies. This project was funded through  RHSET, and the then South Australian Health Commission and Northern Territory Health Services.

The project aimed to provide education, training and support to mental health workers in rural and remote areas of South Australia and the Northern Territory. The objectives of the project were to improve the accessibility of rural and remote service providers through the establishment of Telehealth networks between the Division of Mental Health and sites in Coober Pedy, Roxby Downs, Alice Springs and Darwin

Additionally the project demonstrated the effectiveness of using Telehealth as a strategy to support child and adolescent mental health services in rural and remote areas. The project was externally evaluated by John Mitchell and Associates who are national leaders in the evaluation of Telehealth and have published in this field both nationally and internationally.

Evaluation Reports

The Evaluation Report on the First Year of Bringing Child and Adolescent Mental Health to Rural Communities 1998-99 is available for PDF icondownload. (114 Kb)

The Evaluation Report on the Second Year of Bringing Child and Adolescent Mental Health to Rural Communities is available for PDF icondownload. (114 Kb)

Journal Publications

Mitchell, J.M., Robinson, P.J., McEvoy, M., Gates, J. (2001) Two case studies of telehealth technologies used for the delivery of professional development for health, education and welfare professionals in remote mining towns. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 2001, Vol 7, 174-180

Mitchell, J.M., & Robinson, P.J (2000) A multipurpose Telehealth network for mental health professionals in rural and remote areas. Telemedicine Today, June 2000, 4,5, 28

Mitchell, J.M., Robinson, P.J., Seiboth, C., Koszegi, B., (2000) An evaluation of a network for professional development in child and adolescent mental health in rural and remote communities. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 2000, Vol 6, No 3, 158-162

last modified: 24 Mar 2016