COVID-19: Comfort in crisis
Equipping Australia with a coronavirus-dedicated mental wellbeing support service.
Amidst the global health crisis, people are increasingly and more intensely struggling with depression and anxiety.
Grappling with fears of contracting coronavirus—compounded by worries about job security, the economy, social isolation and disrupted daily routines—many are experiencing psychological distress.
Beyond Blue, a leading Australian mental health organization that provides diverse, digital and 24/7 contact counseling services, is fast responding to this massive surge in demand for support. Since the start of the pandemic, the organization’s around the clock counseling service has seen a significant spike in demand for its existing support service being related to COVID-19 concerns.
However, higher demand for essential services like these means higher costs, which is unsustainable for nonprofit organizations that rely on donations to support people in need. To better meet demand and supply in a COVID- world, a new service was required.
Accenture partnered with Beyond Blue and Medibank to co-author a Federal Government proposal to fund a national solution for expanded and tailored digital mental health services in response to the pandemic.
In late March, the Commonwealth announced $10 million in funding for Beyond Blue to rapidly deploy and deliver a dedicated Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service, as part of its initial national investment in telehealth, mental health and family support. Accenture mobilized and collaborated across diverse stakeholders to guide the new service’s strategy and capability model, while our innovation experts structured a high level digital visual framework.
Launched in early April, the new Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service offers free mental health information, phone and web chat-based counseling and referrals to other organizations—24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service, which is being continuously updated over the six-month funding period, connects people to a variety of digital self-help information, tools and wellbeing advice, based on their need.
As Beyond Blue’s client-side delivery partner in this unique offering, Accenture was also responsible for the Service’s initial service strategy and performance reporting to the Government and other stakeholders.
"These online interactions often provide people reassurance and the motivation to take the first steps to recovery, talk to their GP, let their family know what is actually going on. They may start exercising more, stop drinking so much and make positive lifestyle changes. Those are the kind of outcomes that I'm interested in achieving by harnessing technology."
The new service is timely and brings together capabilities from Beyond Blue, and other notable mental health providers—highlighting an impressive cross-sectional collaboration at a time when Australians are increasingly concerned about their mental wellbeing.
To address some specific cases, Beyond Blue and its partners developed new mental wellness content—like How to Cope in Isolation—to help users make the most of the Coronavirus service. A significant proportion of content was created to enable self-help information and tools to particularly help people manage anxiety and depression.
While the need for physical distancing remains crucial, this innovative service draws on a broad array of human-centered content and technologies to support Australians. The service equips people with handy insights, coping strategies and third-party referral options that are reliable, relevant and easily accessible to them.
We shaped an agile delivery plan to identify, sequence and manage a delivery backlog that will continually update the dedicated service over a six-month funding period.
The service enhancements include: latest digital functionality, fresh content, new KPI reporting, and connecting a range of mental health providers to the offering. With timely and crucial delivery assistance, Beyond Blue is doing its part to reduce the impact of mental health issues during these unprecedented times of crisis.
Accenture, Beyond Blue and Medibank were able to secure crucial funding in just eight workdays.
With this innovative solution in place, Beyond Blue can provide Australians in need of assistance with appropriate information, counseling and enable referrals to other providers—at no cost, anytime, anywhere.