Around 45% of Australians aged 16–85 will experience a mental illness in their life, costing our healthcare system nearly $10 billion per annum. No individual, family or community is immune to the impacts of mental health. Many people who have a mental health condition do not seek help, do not receive any treatment, or treatment is delayed due to difficulties in detection and diagnosis.
SiSU Health (‘SiSU’) provides free health and wellbeing checks through its medically certified self-assessment health stations, distributed across 300 pharmacies and other accessible public locations in Australia. To date, SiSU has completed approximately 2.5 million checks. SiSU’s platform and wide reach provide an excellent opportunity to tackle some of the major challenges in mental health care.
This PhD project (which is part of a larger program) examines embedding best-practice digital assessment technologies in the SiSU platform to empower the Australian public to self-manage their mental health. Self-management could potentially improve self-esteem, help support people experiencing conditions such as depression, encourage individuals to seek professional care if necessary, and reduce the risk of self-harm or suicide. Through self-management, Australians who may otherwise be hesitant to seek care will be able to explore their health in a safe place with no judgement or stigma.
This project aims to develop and incorporate a suite of new mental health and wellbeing digital assessment technologies into the existing SiSU platform. This integration could potentially empower the Australian public to self-manage their mental health and wellbeing and encourage them to seek additional assistance from a mental health professional if required.
In addition, this project will contribute to the description and assessment of mental health and wellbeing in a digital, population health framework.
Swinburne University of Technology
Zhao Hui Koh, PhD student
DHCRC PhD Scholarship