MOST, the technology future of youth mental health
A novel blend of digital therapy and face-to-face clinical care is helping young Australians get the MOST out of their mental health journey.
Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) is an example of harnessing technology to support youth mental health, anytime and anywhere.
It’s a response to meeting the mental health needs of young Australians and the services supporting them – a need which has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The widespread adoption of telehealth and digital innovation has showcased technology’s potential to overcome barriers and provide enhanced access to effective, sustainable mental health care.
MOST is a world-first digital therapy platform for young people aged 12 to 25 developed by Orygen Digital – a division of Orygen, Australia’s centre of excellence in youth mental health.
Based on 11 years of research, clinical expertise, trials and technical innovation, MOST integrates digital interventions with clinical support to extend and enhance current mental health services. It is backed by around $35 million in government and partner funding: which is supporting platform implementation, 39 competitive grants and towards pilots in Australia, Europe, the USA and Canada.
Professor Mario Alvarez-Jimenez, Direct of Orygen Digital, says MOST gives on-demand access to tailored, evidence-based online therapy, tools and programs guided by clinicians and vocational specialists. At the same time, trained peers with lived experience of mental ill-health moderate a safe, social network that creates a supportive online community of other young people working on their mental health.
“We know therapy doesn’t always connect with young people,” says Professor Alvarez-Jimenez. “that’s why MOST has been developed in partnership with them, and the people and services who support them.
“The technology, research and unique blended mental health care model behind MOST is designed to be used while they’re waiting for care, between sessions and even when they’re discharged. It gives them 24/7 access to the help they need, when they need it, in a way that truly engages them with therapy.”
The platform has been recognised for its contribution to ‘excellence, innovation and best practice in mental health services’, winning the Therapeutic and Clinical Services category of the 2021 Mental Health Service Awards for Australia and New Zealand.
“One of the things that’s really appealing about the platform is that it has a strong clinical team behind it... it is really powerful, both in terms of helping guide selection of content for young people, but also creating a moderated space.” Clinical Psychologist, Youth Mood Clinic.
Other organisations using MOST also see the value in giving clients a sense of autonomy in their own care.
One young participant who accessed the service said: “It helped me get through because I knew that I wasn’t alone and there was always someone to turn to – I was able to interact with moderators, staff and peers who had been through the same kind of thing…the toolkits, therapy comics and little step-by-step guidelines helped with things like how to stop, breathe, relax and go one step at a time.”
Initially trialed in Victoria, access to MOST was rapidly expanded last year as part of the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 community support response.
It is currently available in 95 per cent of Victorian headspace centres and specialist youth mental health services. A national MOST network is now emerging, with Queensland, the ACT and New South Wales soon to offer MOST in their jurisdictions, and conversations with other Australian states in progress.
Find out more: to see how MOST helped one young person on their mental health journey, watch Malamati’s story
or visit orygen.org.au/most
This organisation is supported by trusts managed by Equity Trustees