Information for the Health Sector

Mental health services are in high demand resulting in significant waiting lists for people seeking support. For the many people reluctant to seek support in the first place, this can act as a barrier and prevent them from trying to get the support they need. Developed by Beyond Blue and evaluated as a successful program, NewAccess is playing a key role in the local Primary Health Network stepped care models and helping to overcome these sector challenges.

Underpinned by 10+ years of research including a three-year trial in Australia, the program is proven to help people hesitant to engage with mental health services. 

 “As a GP, what I like about this service is that it’s a great option for people with milder symptoms. It is practical, is based on evidence, and has all the checks and balances in place to ensure that people with more severe mental health issues are appropriately referred.”

Dr Grant Blashki, Lead Clinical Adviser, Beyond Blue.

Key features of NewAccess
  • Improves psychological wellbeing by offering assisted and/or self-guided Low-intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to adults in Australia with mild to moderate anxiety and depression.
  • Provides direct and immediate access to mental health services via simple referral pathways e.g. self-referral.
  • Complements the existing mental health services to reach ‘hard to reach’ populations groups, especially men, and people in communities where access and uptake of services is lower.
  • Has a high level of measurability with clear metrics and reporting systems to assess progress and effectiveness.
  • People requiring more intensive treatment are referred to more appropriate services. Throughout the program, people may also be linked to complementary community networks and engage with other support service providers should they require it i.e. employment, financial or housing assistance.
NewAccess evaluation

An independent evaluation of the program by Ernst & Young showed:

  • A recovery rate of 67.5 per cent in people that have participated in the program.1
  • That NewAccess overcomes stigma: free entry, multiple referral pathways including self-referral, either face-to-face or over the phone sessions, no labelling and practical exercises are some of the features that actively reduce stigma barriers.
  • NewAccess is user-friendly – clients are effectively engaged and stay with the treatment.
  • The program attracts those who traditionally do not seek help, such as men.
  • Users of the program see a dramatic improvement in their mental health following the program which has a lasting effect.
  • The program is successful in diverse demographic catchments.
  • The new workforce and supervision structure is highly effective.

To read the summary evaluation report please download the PDF Beyond Blue NewAccess Demonstration Independent Evaluation.

How to provide the program effectively

Beyond Blue manages and maintains quality, safety and fidelity to the NewAccess program through:

  • prescribing suitability criteria for the recruitment of the coach workforce
  • ensuring coaches receive high quality, competency-based training
  • clearly defining the LiCBT interventions within scope of NewAccess, and those which are out of scope
  • prescribing the supervision model of coaches to ensure clinical risk is identified and managed to the highest standard
  • having clear systems and processes to ‘step up’ clients who require more intensive, clinical mental health services, and ‘step down’ clients to informal community care as appropriate.
  • utilising a client information management system which enables detailed, real-time reporting and automatic alerts for specific client issues or events that need immediate review. 

While fidelity to the model is essential, it’s equally important to maintain flexibility within coaching models – that is, allow coaches to move within the parameters of LiCBT to suit individual client needs, taking into account the diversity of the client experience and requirements.

How to implement coaching models

When implementing coaching models, it’s important to remember that:

  • there is a requirement to commit to providing the service in accordance with the stipulations set out in the Beyond Blue NewAccess Service Guide
  • services are embedded within the stepped-care model, including both health and social care systems
  • services are located in accessible venues (or via phone/telehealth)
  • people can self-refer to services and there is low stigma associated with the services
  • the services are well known and accepted by both the general public and health professionals
  • the workforce delivering coaching services are well-trained
  • there are strong safety and quality assurance and monitoring processes, to ensure that commissioned coaching and/or e-mental health services are evidence-based, implemented as intended, and include clinical risk management systems
  • there is an ongoing focus on evaluation and monitoring, through regular analysis of clinical outcomes
Local implementation: critical risks and success factors

To implement coaching models like NewAccess, it’s critical that fidelity to the evidence-based Low-intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (LiCBT) model is maintained, and ‘therapeutic drift’ is avoided. Therapeutic drift is when a coach strays from the treatment model resulting in a modified course of intervention.

There are two main reasons to avoid this:

In the UK’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) program it has been demonstrated that strict adherence by coaches to the model leads to better outcomes for clients.

Delivering LiCBT within the prescribed evidence-based interventions protects both coaches and clients

Do you know someone who might benefit from NewAccess?

If you know someone who might benefit from the NewAccess program, please encourage them to enquire if they meet the following criteria:

  • Live in the right catchment area
    • NewAccess is funded by local Primary Health Networks which means, it’s not currently available everywhere in Australia. Check out the locations here.
  • Are a suitable age for the region 
    • Most NewAccess sites work with people 18+, but some are now supporting children 16+ and even 12+. The location listing will indicate age groups.
  • Are not under the active care of a psychologist or psychiatrist. 

If you meet the criteria, you can simply enquire online or call your local service. 

Don’t forget, there is no medical referral required, and it’s free.

Read our FAQs for more information.

Interested in delivering NewAccess?

For an organisation to provide NewAccess, it’s a requirement of Beyond Blue that they agree to enter into a License Deed with Beyond Blue. The Deed outlines how the services need to be delivered in terms of ensuring that fidelity to the model is protected.

For organisations interested in submitting NewAccess tenders, please email NewAccess.

For a full list of references for the statistics on this page, and any others across the website, please visit the references page and search through the relevant category.

1. Edwards, K., Lunn, J., Baass, B. (2015) beyondblue NewAccess Demonstration Independent Evaluation. Melbourne: Ernst & Young.