Online therapy pilot receives $12 million funding

Monash Health will soon be piloting Orygen Digital’s Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) for young people aged 12 to 14, with $12 million in funding announced this week by the Victorian Government. 

MOST is a world-first digital therapy platform offering a unique blend of digital and face-to-face therapy for young Victorians experiencing mental health difficulties. 

The current platform already available to Monash Health offers young people aged 15 to 25 access to 24/7 tailored online therapy, tools and programs guided by clinicians, vocational specialists, and trained peers with lived experience of mental difficulties.  

The funding, which will support a two-year trial of a new MOST platform for people aged 12 to 14, was announced this week by Steve Dimopoulos MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health, at Monash Health’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Dandenong. 

Paula Hakesley, General Manager, Mental Health Program, Monash Health, Professor Pat McGorry, Executive Director, Orygen Digital, and Professor Mario Alvarez-Jimenez, Director, Orygen Digital, joined Mr Dimopoulos for the announcement. 

“This is a very exciting pilot project that our Early In Life and Youth Mental Health Services are collaborating on with Orygen to trial their digital therapy MOST platform. It provides an important treatment pathway to some of our 12- to 14-year-old clients who have faced enormous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ms Hakesley. 

“Our younger clients can now access this platform to seek help and support in a safe and supportive environment whenever they need it and from the comfort of their own home.”  

A MOST participant and one of MOST’s youth technical advisory group members, Malamati, spoke at the announcement and explained how the platform had helped her. The new version of the platform, designed specifically for the 12 to 14 aged group, was demonstrated by Orygen Digital following the announcement. 

Jaya Matthew, Senior Clinical Coordinator, Monash Health, has supported the delivery of the MOST platform at Monash Health’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. 

“We’ve been using the MOST platform in the Early in Life Mental Health Service for the past year. Because it’s online, the rapid response from clinicians within the platform has further enhanced the care we can provide to our clients and families,” said Ms Matthew. 

“It’s also a great resource for young people to connect with peers experiencing similar difficulties. We’re very excited about the 12- to 14-year-old version of MOST as there is an increase in demand for mental health support for this age group.” 

To participate in the program, young people must be referred by their participating specialist service.  Other participating sites include Alfred Health, Latrobe Regional Hospital, and Albury-Wodonga Hospital. 

To learn more about MOST, visit the Orygen Digital website.