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Text Counselling Service for Rural Communities

31 July 2019

Virtual Psychologist is a Federal Government funded initiative that provides fully qualified mental health professionals to support people in rural and remote areas via Text, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Twitter.

This free service is available 24/7 and helps bridge the gap in mental health support for rural and remote communities. It also eliminates the need get a mental health care plan, long waitlists to see a psychologist, or having to drive distances to access face-to face services.

Suicide rates in rural areas are almost double that of metro areas, with men in particular being more at risk. Data collected by the service over the last two years shows that men are much more likely to engage with the service than with traditional counselling. In addition, over the last 12 months 65% of people who have engaged with the service reported that they would not have reached out for any psychological help if this service had not been available.

People living rural and remote areas as classified by the Modified Monash Model are eligible to access this service. This includes Lithgow and parts of the Hawkesbury. No app is required and clients can remain anonymous. A rural or remote postcode, age and gender has to be provided to qualify for the service.

People can text 0488 807 266 to start a conversation at any time.