Optus teams up with Virtual Psychologist to take text-based counselling regional

Roadshow places psychologists in easy reach across Coonabarabran

With many Australian communities facing a range of hardships as they continue to recover from recent natural disasters, Optus is looking to offer support to these towns by partnering with the Virtual Psychologist service to bring text-based counselling regional. Optus will bring the Virtual Psychologist service to Coonabarabran as part of a two weeklong roadshow in the region of Central West NSW.

Virtual Psychologist is Australias first text counselling service delivered by qualified mental health professionals, offering a select range of text based psychological and counselling support services to individuals and those in corporate, rural and remote settings irrespective of their mobile carrier. In 2017, Virtual Psychologist was accepted into the Optus Future Makers program, marking the beginning of an ongoing engagement with Optus.

In 2018, in recognition of the distress experienced by rural communities as a result of drought, the Federal Government announced it would provide $1 million towards the Virtual Psychologist service, enabling communities to redeem up to six complimentary sessions.

Tom ODea Optus Territory General Manager for Central West NSW said, More and more communities across regional Australia are coming face to face with relentless droughts, bushfires and heatwaves. Its devastating to see how this is affecting the livelihoods as well as the mental health of those living in these affected areas.

“These communities are facing significant daily hardship which adds to the existing challenge of living in areas which can be isolated from friends or family.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the Virtual Psychologist and bring their valuable services to Coonabarabran. The roadshow will offer support to locals by providing contacts for them to confide in and be reminded they can seek support whenever they need by simply sending a text.

Dervla Loughnane, Virtual Psychologist Chief Executive Officer said, Often the hardest decision is to pick up the phone to connect with people. Many people say that phone or face to face services are too confronting, embarrassing, inconvenient or simply not available. Our Virtual Psychologist service offers a safe and private space, providing all styles of counselling for different situations over text.

Our service is available at any time and accessible within areas of mobile coverage, so individuals are no longer limited by where counselling services are located. By bringing the roadshow to Coonabarabran, we aim to reach those with counselling services who otherwise would not have considered arranging an appointment and going in person.

The opportunity to be a part of this roadshow during a time when many Australians need support in some way is incredibly important to us.

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