Free mental health coaching program to help manage everyday challenges

In News by Jodie McHarry

Community members experiencing mild depression and/or anxiety symptoms have access to a free, confidential support service, delivered across the Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast region.  

 NewAccess is an evidence-based model of care designed by Beyond Blue, funded by CCQ and delivered by Richmond Fellowship Queensland. The NewAccess program forms part of the low intensity service stream (Stream 1) of the mental health stepped care model. Mental health stepped care offers a flexible hierarchy of tailored interventions matched to an individual’s needs. Stepped care is about ensuring that people can access the most appropriate services at any given time – including the ability to step up and down to different levels of care as their needs vary. 

 Amanda Westaway, Coordinator Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs from CCQ said, “The program aims to support people who may be feeling down or overwhelmed and are seeking assistance to manage the stressors of daily life.” 

“Participants are guided in the use of evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy and practical tools to overcome everyday challenges. Participants do not need to visit their doctor first – they can go directly to NewAccess”, she said. 

Coaches support their clients to set practical goals and provide guidance using tools and materials that will help them learn how to identify and change unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour. Following initial assessment, the program is conducted over five weekly sessions, and concludes with a final follow up session. Sessions are offered via phone, video conferencing or face to face in some circumstances depending on the preference of the individual and the region in which they live. 

 Feedback from program participants has indicated that the program is very beneficial, providing the tools needed to think differently and achieve a better state of mind, with the support of a qualified mental health coach. 

 Positive results have been achieved since implementation of the program across the Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland and Wide Bay region, following expansion from the initial pilot site of Fraser Coast. Recent results indicate a recovery rate of 61% – the first time the target of 60% has been exceeded, aligned with the national average of between 60% and 70%. These high recovery rates have been steadily increasing since program delivery commenced; a trend that is anticipated to continue as the service firmly establishes itself and its operations in the community. 

 A doctor’s referral is not required to access the program, however, to be eligible individuals must be aged 16 years or older, reside in the Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland or Wide Bay region, be experiencing mild depression or anxiety symptoms and not currently engaged in other psychological therapy. Clients can self-refer via the Beyond Blue website or by calling 1300 159 795. 

 Further information on the NewAccess program is available on the CCQ website: