VVCS trialling veteran counselling over Skype
Australia's Veterans and Veterans' Families Counselling Service (VVCS) is trialling using Skype to provide online mental health counselling.
VVCS is currently offering counselling via video telephony over Skype on an as-needed basis, and the service has proven popular with clients.
But Minister for Veterans' Affairs Stuart Robert noted that there have, to date, not been many studies into the effectiveness of online counselling.
“VVCS is going to lead Australian research in this area," he said. “If the trial indicates Skype counselling is effective, VVCS will consider making it part of its regular services, in addition to face-to-face, telephone and videoconference counselling."
Roberts said the government is working to make VVCS services available to as many veterans and ex-service personnel — and their families — as possible, and sees Skype as a good way to ensure services are available to people in remote locations.
VVCS provides free counselling and support for war- and service-related mental health conditions including PTSD, anxiety, depression, alcohol and substance abuse disorders. Services are available to eligible veterans, serving ADF personnel and their families.
“Veterans are encouraged to seek help if they are worried about how they are feeling or coping. We know the earlier mental health conditions are treated, the better the prospect for recovery," Robert said.
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