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Headspace – Policies and Directions to Find a Balance in the Use of Social Media Facing up to Facebook Symposium 25 November 2011 Beth Smith.

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Presentation on theme: "Headspace – Policies and Directions to Find a Balance in the Use of Social Media Facing up to Facebook Symposium 25 November 2011 Beth Smith."— Presentation transcript:

1 headspace – Policies and Directions to Find a Balance in the Use of Social Media Facing up to Facebook Symposium 25 November 2011 Beth Smith

2 About headspace... The aim of headspace is to reduce the burden of disease amongst young people aged 12–25 caused by mental health and related substance use problems. headspace is Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation headspace provides mental and health wellbeing support, information & services to young people (12 – 25) and their families across Australia headspace has approximately 40 centres throughout Australia and growing... WITH NORTHERN TASMANIA THE FIRST TO BE SET UP IN TASSIE AND HOBART OPENING SOON...


4 Why headspace as a medium for online & phone counselling? Mental health problems and related problematic alcohol and substance use is the most important health issue affecting young people. 75% of mental health problems among adults commence before age 25 years, and up to 50% of substance use problems are preceded by mental health problems in youth (Kessler 2005) Receiving help early protects against the development of severe mental disorders and suicidal thinking (Greenberg et al 2001, Rickwood et al 2007) Currently only 1in 4 young people experiencing mental health problems actually receives professional help


6 Getting help We know that getting help early for mental health difficulties and mental illness can really make a difference. So why don’t many young people get help....

7 Why don't young people seek help? Mental health literacy Specific beliefs Stigma associated about mental health Lack of services Bad reputation of services Fear of the unknown Concerns around confidentiality Belief that treatment won’t help Preferring to deal with problem alone Not youth friendly Complex service system

8 Youth friendly environment Non-judgemental and informal services Flexible approaches Services that can help with both mental illness and alcohol & drug problems Services that will help you after you turn 18 Services that employ workers who like young people and understand the things that happen in young people’s lives Services that can see you straight away when you need help (Francis et al, 2006; Dixon and Lloyd, 2005; YACSA, 2006) What do young people want?

9 ecounselling may have advantages of: allowing clients easier and more convenient access to counsellors allowing clients to open up in a pressure free environment allowing both client and counsellor to come to the point quickly reducing ambiguity in the communication of issues, interventions etc. possibly reducing the effects of stigma associated with mental health issues and settings (Tylee et al., 2007). ecounselling

10 So what is this thing called eheadspace?....... eheadspace is: Aiming to take the clinical expertise of youth mental health to new mediums – online and telephone A confidential, free and secure space where a young person or their family can web chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional NOT a crisis service Where if inappropriate for mental health issues to be addressed online – young people will be supported and encouraged to attend face to face services



13 eheadspace Parental mental health difficulties History of abuse/sexual assault Relationship difficulties Obsessive compulsive disorder Psychotic symptoms Vocational Recent sexual assault Eating difficulties (undiagnosed eating disorders) Young people presenting with a broad range of mental health issues including: Depression Deliberate self-harming behaviours Suicidal thoughts Bereavement Anxiety Borderline personality disorder Homelessness Parental drug use Bullying

14 eheadspace The range of interventions provided include: Cognitive behavioural strategies Relaxation techniques Mood monitoring Alternatives to self harming behaviours Supportive counselling Crisis intervention Engagement Psychoeducation Supported referral to face-to-face services

15 Going forward headspace successfully tendered to expand and further develop this service Promoted to rural and regional communities Expanded operating hours per day, eheadspace’s online component now12 hours per day since October 1PM-1AM AEST eheadspace free call telephone number 1800 650 890 10PM-1PM AEST

16 We need to interact with young people online.... but we must be responsible headspace National Office recognises the need to have a policy around the use of social media which includes Key Guiding Principles : - Duty of Care - Respect and Inclusiveness - Honesty and Transparency - Professionalism - Confidentiality Managing Social Media Profiles ensuring: - Clear responsibilities e.g. a Social Media Team - Appropriate Content and Inclusiveness - Moderation – check at regular intervals - Clinical Responses – Procedure in place to act on any posts that need have a clinical element

17 Covering all bases Social media policy also covers the use of social media by headspace employees Appendices to the Social Media Policy include: - Risk mitigation strategy to avoid/minimise/respond to :cyber bullying; inappropriate information or images; posts about self-harm/intent to suicide; defamatory or offensive comments - Helpline info - Handy fact sheet ‘Tips for safe social networking’ - Protective reporting procedures and guidelines, and relevant Risk Report Form

18 And what about facebook in ‘my place’? 600 + ‘friends’ Have a profile and a page Checked daily by our on-site moderator Includes special events e.g. RUOK? Day Centre Closures – public holidays Updates and reminders of available services post-suicide New policy and handbook documents have triggered improved practices – instead of everyone being our ‘friend’ we have it that they choose to just ‘like’ us/subscribe to see our info! So we are learning all the time too...

19 Young people are reluctant to use conventional mental health services. Online services are more accessible, can deliver effective interventions, and provide a bridge to clinical services (King) Whilst acknowledging that not all mental health problems can be appropriately addressed online – the opportunity now exists to provide information and to sign post services to those young people who are known to be less likely to be reached by traditional methods – young men, LGBTI, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, CALD and rural and remote Australians.

20 Thank You Beth Smith CEO Cornerstone Youth Services/headspace Northern Tasmania Tel: 03 6335 3100 Email:

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