Talking Telehealth with headspace Launceston

Talking Telehealth with headspace LauncestonK+JSELF

headspace Launceston has been using the National Telehealth Service since May 2015. Penelope Watson (hNO Telehealth Practice Manager) recently chatted to Jayne Watson (headspace Launceston Youth Support Worker) and Kate Brennan (headspace Launceston Clinical Services Manager) about their thoughts on the Service.

Q. What advantages are there for young people who chose to see a psychiatrist via the National Telehealth Service?

A. Having an ‘in house’ service for the young people that we are working with is a massive advantage for all involved. It allows clinicians to have direct contact to the psychiatrist and sit in on the session, while the young person has already previously engaged with the clinician and is in a familiar environment. The dramatically decreased waiting time offered by this service is another advantage, especially as public waiting times can regularly stretch between six and eight weeks.

Q. How has the National Telehealth Service helped young people who have seen a psychiatrist?

A. It’s a great way for the young people to seek clarification and validation on their diagnosis, while they have the clinician they are familiar with sitting beside them for added support. One young person that completed a session and review liked that she wasn’t seeing a local psychiatrist and was less self conscious about attending the Telehealth appointments.

Q. What are the advantages of the National Telehealth Service for headspace centre clinicians? Why should a centre use it? If you were trying to convince a colleague to use it, what would you say to them?

A. It’s an excellent learning experience for clinicians. Not only is the service great for diagnostic clarification and medication advice, it can bring a new perspective on treatment ideas that the clinician can then implement with their client.

Q. What three tips would you give to a centre just starting with the service?


1. The first tip we’d offer is to have one organised representative who takes care of the referral gathering, organising times for young people, making sure they are able to attend on the day and setting up the technology, so there are no mixed messages within the team as to who is responsible for these jobs.

2. Secondly, we’d recommend having the clinical lead working closely with the Telehealth representative to flag young people to follow up with to ensure no one falls through the gaps.

3.Lastly, it’s important to give the NTS time to take off within your service and not set expectations too high, as referrals will take time to build up.

Q. What barriers did you experience when initially using the service?

A. Technology was a big barrier for the young people before their attended first Telehealth appointment, as most of them hadn’t used a video call setup before and needed reassurance beforehand. Our GPs and clinicians also had to build trust with the new system and NTS psychiatrist.

For any enquiries about the National Telehealth Service, please contact Penelope Watson at