Queensland Health backs new depression website

By Rob O'Brien

A new website to support people with depression and alcohol problems has been launched in Brisbane.

The website, called OnTrack and developed by a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research team with funding from Queensland Health, will allow people free access to assistance.

It was launched by Queensland Parliamentary Secretary for Healthy Living Murray Watt at Old Government House in Brisbane.

Professor David Kavanagh, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), who led the development team, said the website would offer full support to people.

"Many people who are feeling low try to deal with it by drinking alcohol, but that is not a solution and in fact, it can make the problem worse," Professor Kavanagh said.

"This program offers a way to get help in their own home, at any time. This website allows people to get fact sheets and check their mood and their drinking without having to log in or give their name.

Professor Kavanagh said that there would be a confidential online program for users which offers feedback to help them get their lives back on track.

"Of course, if their problems are severe, we ask that they use the program with their doctor," he said.

The OnTrack online program, has videos to illustrate key skills, and audio files that users can download. People can also submit videos, audios or text to a media room, for sharing with other users.

"We expect that people in country areas will find OnTrack particularly helpful," Professor Kavanagh said.

"So will people who are too busy to take time to see a therapist, or don't know who to contact."

A research program to test the impact of the program has been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Future OnTrack programs will offer support for family members and friends, and help people with other mental health issues.

Ontrack is available at www.ontrack.org.au.

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