It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when looking at mental health services online, and trying to figure out what one would be the best fit for you. Also now that Barty has come onto the market what sets us apart and why do we need yet another mental health service.
I decided to compare 8 different services to Barty and give a brief overview of each. For these services to make it onto the list they had to fit into the following criteria:
- Nationally accessible – there are many mental services that only service select states (for example HelpingMinds is only accessible in WA and the NT), for them to make the list they needed to be national and not state selective.
- Cover more than one mental illness – again there are many mental health services that only cover a specific mental illness (like the Butterfly Foundation that covers eating disorders). Which is great, but when you’re not sure of your diagnosis or want a wider range of help you’re going to pick a service that covers a wide range of mental illnesses and concerns.
- Have an online presence – they didn’t need to be 100% online but they had to have some sort of presence.
The following organisations I looked at were:
With 1 in 4 young people going through a mental health difficulty at some point in their lives it makes sense that there are specific services for those under the age of 25. The following services are targeted for young people:
ReachOut – full disclosure this is an organisation that I love and have had the opportunity to volunteer for over the years as both a Youth Ambassador and a forum moderator. This was even how Bart and I met as I got to interview him before he hiked the Overland track. ReachOut has been around for over 20 years and from the get-go it has been youth focused. They are Australia’s only 100% online youth mental health service and provide supports such as infographics, forums, videos, apps, and articles. They are great if you are 25 and under and need some extra support and guidance.There’s also ReachOut parents which is a great resource for parents whose kids might be struggling and they’re not sure where to turn to.
Kids Helpline – this is a chat service for young people where people can talk to qualified counsellors either online or over the phone, there’s also a place where you can join online peer support groups. They have targeted areas for the various age groups (kids, teens and young adults) which have various relevant articles that those age groups are facing. This is a great service if you are under 25 and need some one-on-one help.
Headspace – this is mainly an in-person service, there are Headspace centres all over the country and each one adjusts their services to meet the needs of the community. You can see psychologists, counsellors, and other professionals at the centres. They have branched out into telehealth which means you can talk to a professional online, along with them having online forums and group chats.
The rest of the services listed have no age limits, though obviously if you are a young person it’s recommended that you see a service provider for your age.
RUOK – this is mainly a promotional service that encourages people to start the conversation regarding mental health by asking people: are you ok? While they don’t offer direct support, they do offer ways to support people going through a tough time and how to get the conversation flowing.
Lifeline – like Kids Helpline but for adults and a great resource if you are in a crisis however, they don’t offer ongoing support. The workers may not have qualifications and are instead mostly volunteers who have been trained.
Black Dog Institute – this is Australia’s mental health medical research institution. They have a lot of resources you can read, along with mental health self-tests you can do if you think you might have a mental illness. They don’t offer any support directly, but their articles are great and really varied covering everything from anxiety to PTSD to depression to bipolar disorder.
Beyond Blue – when you think of a mental health organisation you first think of Beyond Blue. Beyond Blue offers a range of services from online and phone counselling services, forums, factsheets and articles. It’s a great place to start if you aren’t sure where to begin and are figuring things out.
SANE Australia – is a place for people to go if they are suffering more complex mental health issues. There are forums, online and phone chat, peer support, fact sheets and blogs written by people who are going through complex mental health issues. It’s a great place if you need help regarding complex mental health issues, though it’s not the easiest website to navigate and it’s hard to know where to begin.
So why is there a need for another mental health service, especially one like Barty? For starters we’re not government funded, we're not just using coffee as a way to get the conversation started, we’re using it as a way to fund the service. We’re also a small new service which means we can adapt and change as we see gaps.
There’s also not a lot of one-on-one support during the middle times when you don’t need crisis help but you want more support than what a forum environment can give you, which is a gap we want to fill. We’re here if you want help to navigate the mental health sector and you have no idea where to begin or you’re just having a bad day and need to vent in a 100% judgement free zone or maybe something good has happened and you need to celebrate. We will be around and always happy to help.
Our aim is to build up our content while also relating it to the real world, we want people to relate while also seeing things differently. Nothing is off limits for us, we want to open up conversations and also provide relevant information to navigate the world no matter what it may throw at us. If you have a topic you want to see covered feel free to let us know and we will do our best to make it happen.
Barty may be small but we’re just starting out and the sky's the limit for us. When you think of Barty, think mental health and coffee, think having conversations over coffee about mental health while also reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.
Feel free to drop by, just say, ‘Hey Erin’ in strict confidence and you can be anonymous if you wish. Or, do not hesitate to leave a question in the comments below any time.