Dec 2020 Longreach Agi DSC_8928 (1)

Telehealth overcomes depression and loneliness

Long time Central West Queensland resident Julie* came to Outback Futures, referred by the local nurse navigator with symptoms of long term depression.

Julie was over 70 years of age, living on her own in a small remote community, and expressed feelings of extreme loneliness.

She had trouble leaving the house due to her anxiety and depression, which further increased her sense of isolation.

Getting help was challenging for Julie due to her difficulty attending appointments outside the home.

Telehealth provided a solution for this obstacle, so Julie could seek help from the safety of her own home.

Julie’s initial session was face-to-face with an Outback Futures counsellor. During this session they spent time setting up Julie’s iPad with telehealth software.

Julie began attending regular telehealth sessions with the same counsellor. The reliability and consistency of her attendance increased dramatically. Over time, she reported looking forward to her connections on screen. As a result of these sessions, Julie now accesses the support she needs, when and where she needs it.

Concurrently, a HEAD YAKKA initiative was developing in Julie’s region with Outback Futures and local community stakeholders and champions.

HEAD YAKKA focusses on strengthening existing community networks and wellbeing projects.

It empowers people to better understand mental health, develop tools to support one another, and become more confident in help seeking pathways.

HEAD YAKKA was strengthening the community networks and support around Julie in conjunction with her own access to therapy. Broader community understanding and support for Julie (and others like her) was steadily growing.

Julie’s story highlights the value of empowering communities to identify and support those who are vulnerable. The surrounding community, with greater understanding of the challenges in accessing support, can then positively contribute to the mental health and wellbeing of others.

*Our client’s name has been changed to respect her privacy.

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