Virtual Psychologist Story
As a qualified psychologist who has worked in many countries around the world Dervla Loughnane is often asked to provide psychological support to Critical Incidents all over Australia. However one case in particular had a huge impact on Ms Loughnane. A young man; who appeared to have it all, took his own life late one night. He passed away with his mobile phone next to him. Something that troubled Ms Loughnane was the lack of engagement channels offered by psychologists in Australia. Would he have reached out for help if he could have sent a simple text message and not felt under pressure to ask for help directly? Could he have engaged in services earlier if he had an option of a less confrontational form of engagement? Could a simple text sent in the middle of the night have provided the support he needed to make another life changing decision? Could an easier form of engagement have resulted in a saved life?
It was these questions that saw Ms Loughnane establish Virtualpsychologist Corporate, a text based service that offers an alternative form of engagement for mental health services within the Corporate and school based sectors.
Virtualpsychologist is the first company to offer such services in the Southern Hemisphere and hopes to provide clients with an easy form of engagement in accessing psychological support. Face to face and telephone based services are still provided but people have the option of engaging through text message in situations where people want to initially avoid direct confrontation with psychologists, are unable to talk due to open plan offices or other restricted areas, may have hearing impairments or may be in a domestic violence situation where it is not safe to communicate via phone.