An online cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) program has been specially developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users by Macquarie University’s MindSpot Clinic.
The MindSpot Clinic is a ‘virtual clinic’ that offers online CBT programs for people with mild to moderate common mental health conditions. It differs from other online self-help programs because it is not strictly self-help. Users enrolled in the programs have regular contact by their choice of email or telephone with a psychologist at the clinic who guides them through the online content and helps them make the best possible use of it.
The Indigenous Wellbeing Program joins other versions of the transdiagnostic Wellbeing Program which are aimed at older and younger users in the MindSpot virtual clinic.
Carlie Schofield, an Indigenous Mental Health worker and Yuin woman from the South Coast of New South Wales was instrumental in making the original program suitable for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users.
Like other Mindspot programs the Indigenous Wellbeing Program consists of five lessons meant to be completed over eight weeks. These lessons provide information about depression and anxiety and teach skills to manage them in a culturally appropriate format. The program includes examples of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with similar problems, stories, interactive exercises and suggestions about things to practice between sessions.
The Mindspot Clinic can introduce patients to CBT and help them overcome stigma driven reluctance to seek treatment while at the same time giving them the benefit of a therapist keeping an eye on them. The Indigenous Wellbeing Program does all this in a way that feels comfortable to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users.
Most importantly of all, the Wellbeing Program provides good quality CBT interventions completely free of charge. Evidence for the efficacy of the MindSpot Clinic’s programs is gathered at the university’s e-Centre Clinic before they are incorporated into MindSpot.
For some patients the Mindspot Indigenous Wellbeing Program may be all the help they need, for others it may provide an introduction to psychological care or to ‘basic skills training in mental health ‘ while their face-to-face professionals help them deal with more complex issues.