Telehealth Bereavement Counselling
As technology plays an increasingly vital role in the delivery of health services for all Australians, the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) (www.grief.org.au) is leveraging technology to better meet peoples’ needs through a national online telehealth bereavement counselling service.
Funded by the Department of Health and Human Service, the State-wide Specialist Bereavement Service provides telehealth counselling for a small fee to Victorian residents.
The service offers confidential access to a specialist bereavement counsellor in a virtual setting via computer, mobile phone, or tablet. Whilst telehealth services have been operational in Australia for some time, this is the first time a dedicated specialist bereavement counselling service has been made available nationally.
Wendy Howard, Manager of the Bereavement Counselling Support Service stated; “Telehealth is convenient for regional and remote parts of the country. However, there are also many people who, just as a matter of preference, prefer the privacy of their own home or room to access the services of a bereavement counsellor. Access to bereavement counselling can be challenging for people because of distance, disability, or even a reluctance to make others in their world aware that they’re seeking support. This service gives people control over the setting and context of their own counselling.”
This service initiative is about equity – no matter where someone is located, they can get personalised access to high-quality support from a qualified bereavement specialist. Most importantly, they receive care from a consistent counsellor, and this enables the establishment of rapport and continuity of the therapeutic relationship. One of our clients who provided feedback about their telehealth experience stated: “I look forward to each counselling session. It is comforting to know somebody cares and to see their face and hear their voice.”
At the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement we see a significant change in peoples’ quality of life when they can work through their grief effectively. Telehealth is not a substitute for real counselling – this is real counselling, in real time, with qualified experts. For more information about the telehealth counselling service, please call (03) 9265 2100, free call 1800 642 066 or email Info@grief.org.au