beyondblue’s free NewAccess program could revolutionise the way millions of Australians get help for depression and anxiety

An Australian-first free coaching program with an incredible success rate of almost 70 per cent in treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety – piloted by beyondblue - could be available to many Australians around the country.
beyondblue has committed to working with Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to revolutionise delivery of early intervention mental healthcare to as many people as possible.
The NewAccess program has been running in three trial sites – ACT, North-Coast New South Wales and Adelaide – since October 2013, with more than 3,500 people aged 18 and over taking part. Up to six free sessions are available in the program (which was originally funded with donations from the Movember Foundation), for people experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression or anxiety.
beyondblue Chairman The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC said an independent evaluation by Ernst and Young had proven NewAccess to be an accessible and effective way of treating people who are struggling with personal issues and need help getting back on track.
“NewAccess was modelled on the successful UK program Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, yet the evaluation shows NewAccess has achieved a much better recovery rate, with almost 70 per cent of people treated successfully,” Mr Kennett said.
“Mental healthcare in Australia is undergoing a revolution, and NewAccess fills a gap in services currently available to the public. The Federal Government recommended under its National Mental Health Reform plan that every Primary Health Network should have a low-intensity program such as NewAccess sitting alongside established services in its region.
“The figures from the evaluation speak for themselves, showing this program is as effective as more intensive approaches, but more cost-effective and it’s able to be rolled out on a large scale to service entire communities in Primary Health Networks.
“beyondblue is reaching out to PHNs to present the impressive results of this program and work to investigate opportunities for the program to be implemented and expanded. Based on the excellent results of NewAccess, we hope that PHNs introduce the program as widely as possible across Australia.”
The independent evaluation found:
• 67.5 per cent of people who used NewAccess were below the clinical threshold for anxiety and depression when they finished treatment, i.e. they had recovered.
• More than 70 per cent of participants in the program completed their treatment.
• Participating in the program reduced stigma as it is easy to register and take part. NewAccess is free, there is no need for a medical referral, and attracts people who are reticent about seeking help through existing services.
• Men, who are traditionally harder to reach for mental health programs, participated in NewAccess in extremely high numbers, with men accounting for 39% of all referrals (48% in the rural pilot site).
Each year, about 3.4 million Australians experience depression or anxiety and more than 50 per cent don’t seek support.
beyondblue Board Director Associate Professor Michael Baigent was clinical advisor in developing the program and said NewAccess aligned with the National Mental Health Reform priorities.
“Not that many years ago people received treatment for depression and anxiety only when symptoms were severe and disabling. Treatment would be administered by highly-qualified medical practitioners and there was often a ‘one size fits all’ approach to treat different mental health conditions,” he said.
“As treatments have progressed, we now know that preventing mental illness in its early stages is one of the most effective ways to reduce depression and anxiety in Australia. NewAccess reduces strain on the services for more severe mental health problems, and is easy to access because people can either refer themselves or be referred by their doctor.”
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To request the Ernst and Young Independent Evaluation Summary of Findings, please contact Anne Wright on 0411 035 695 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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