Website to tackle suicide as Mendoza pleads for funds
A SUNSHINE Coast couple have launched a world-first online business as another tool to help deal with Australia's disturbing mental health and suicide statistics.
Aaron and Kate Williams, who live near Eumundi, founded Mindstar, which aims to connect people with mental health professionals any time of the day or night via video technology.
The launch comes on the same day University of the Sunshine Coast adjunct professor and former mental health advisor, John Mendoza, was in Canberra calling for the federal government to address the nation's mental health crisis.
Prof Mendoza was with an alliance of leading mental health advocated who challenged the election candidates to take a stand on suicide.
An audit of 28 electorates, including Fisher on the Sunshine Coast, found suicide rates exceeded the road toll in every seat.
Prof Mendoza said suicide rates had risen almost 20% between 2004 and 2014 and the rate of suicide and self-harm was a national emergency.
Mr Williams said he had been encouraged to quit his job in Queensland Health and start Mindstar after he went through depression following the death of a friend.
He wanted to start a service where people could choose the type of professional they wanted to talk to based on their online profile and have access to help 24 hours.
Candidate for Fairfax, Ted O'Brien said the federal government had committed $320,000 to help Mindstar launch the innovative new technology.
Mr Williams said Mindstar aimed to empower people and give them freedom of choice when it came to selecting the person they wanted to talk to about their difficulties.
Counselling sessions were billed per hour. The website provides a menu of health professionals from across country and their respective expertise.
Key national 24/7 crisis support services include: