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e-Mental health services help young people recognise and respond to emerging mental health problems, and connect to peer and professional support at the times they need it most. This online training provides guidance in using e-mental health services in support work.

It was because she read about someone else going through it, had posted a question and was encouraged that she thought it was ok to ask for help.

Online mental health services play a vital role in support work with young people, connecting them to help where and when they need it, connecting them to important support communities, and giving them the tools to manage mental health problems and to build essential skills.

This online learning provides practical tools to for using e-mental health services in face-to-face work with young people, based on two decades of research into the outcomes of these services and their use in youth and social work practice.

How does the online training work?

The online learning package is made up of 4 self-paced slide packages for you to read in your own time, with supporting resources for you to download and read. After you finish reading each module you will be prompted to respond to a discussion question.

At the end of the package you may undertake a learning assessment in order to get a confirmation of completion for continuing professional development recognition.

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Learning objectives

Module Learning objectives

Module 1: The role of online services

  • Understand the evidence base for online services in producing mental health outcomes
  • Understand the variety of online services available and their roles in the mental health service system

Module 2: Using online communities in your work

  • Understand the evidence base for online services in producing mental health outcomes
  • Understand the variety of online services available and their roles in the mental health service system

Module 3: Using websites and online programs in your work

  • Understand how to use websites and online programs to build mental health literacy and encourage the development of protective factors such as communication skills, problem solving skills and help-seeking behaviours
  • Increased confidence in using websites and online programs in work with young people

Module 4: Referring to online counselling and treatment services

  • Understand the types of online services available and the benefits of different models
  • Increased confidence and ability to refer young people to online treatment services where appropriate

Learner prerequisites

No prerequisites. However, this training is best suited as continuing professional development for those qualified or training in youth work, social work or similar support work fields.

Estimated learning time

10 hours

  • Module 1: 2 hours
  • Module 2: 2.5 hours
  • Module 3: 2.5 hours
  • Module 4: 2.5 hours
  • Learning assessment: 0.5 hours


This resource has been produced by Schools, with input from practitioners, professional bodies and young people. We specifically thank the following reference group members for their contributions to the development of this package.

Hannah Knowlman,
Social worker

Kellie Howe,
Young & Well CRC

Doris Yau,
Young person

Shane Cucow,
Youth worker

Linda Richardson,

Helen Pepper,
Young person

Sera Harris,
Social worker

Sarah Lewis,

Vicki Scott,
Young person

The package is funded by the Department of Health and supported by the Australian Association of Social Workers, Western Australian Association of Youth Workers and the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre.

About the authors

Sera Harris is a social worker with 14 years experience working in mental health and in the youth sectors, in both direct practice and management roles. She has worked in community mental health settings, therapeutic community settings and has overseen services that offer accommodation and support for young people.

From 2007 to 2013 she managed 'Creative Youth Initiatives', an alternative art and music education and support program for young people in Sydney's Surry Hills, and in 2012 accepted the Arts and Health Australia Awards for Excellence in the category of Mental Health and the Arts in Fremantle, Western Australia for her research into the use of creativity to engage vulnerable young people, titled "That Thing that Changed Everything".

She has an honours degree in social work from the University of Sydney and a degree in Fine Arts from COFA, UNSW, is currently a social work educator and practice supervisor, and is completing her PhD at UWS in partnership with the Young and Well CRC, on the extent and role of digital technology used by social workers in direct practice settings and its impact on the professional and personal identities.

Shane Cucow is a youth worker with 7 years experience working in mental health, youth and community services, including 4 years working with Australia’s leading online mental health service

He has a degree in Youth Work from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, and is an accredited youth worker with the Western Australian Association of Youth Workers. Through his involvement in and the Young and Well CRC, he has led the development of new resources to assist health and social services to incorporate technology and e-mental health services into their work with young people.