A telephone-based cognitive behavioural therapy pilot project was trialled from July 2008 to June 2010, via an Australian Government-funded primary mental health care program. A web-based minimum dataset was used to examine level of uptake, sociodemographic and clinical profile of consumers, precise nature of services delivered, and consumer outcomes. Key informant interviews with 22 project officers and 10 mental health professionals elicited lessons learnt from the implementation of the pilot. Overall, 548 general practitioners referred 908 consumers, who received 6607 sessions (33% via telephone). The sessions were delivered by 180 mental health professionals. Consumers were mainly females with an average age of 37 years and had a diagnosis of depressive and/or anxiety disorders. A combination of telephone and face-to-face sessions of 1h in duration were conducted, delivering behavioural and cognitive interventions, usually with no cost to consumers. Several implementation issues were identified by project officers and mental health professionals. Although face-to-face treatment is preferred by providers and consumers, the option of the telephone modality is valued, particularly for consumers who would not otherwise access psychological services. Evidence in the form of positive consumer outcomes supports the practice of multimodal service delivery.
- access to allied psychological services
- better outcomes
- primary mental health care
- psychological intervention
- telephone therapy.