Development of a framework for a reputable E-mental health information portal for CALD Australian consumers and carers

  • St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

  • 2013

  • Richard Prentice, Trust and Foundation Manager



St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne received a 2013 auDA Foundation grant for the development of an e-mental health web-based portal and smartphone application that can create and store personal e-records, which is accessible for CALD consumers.

The grant provided funding for a project manager to develop a framework which combines easily accessible and succinct mental health information, on many different types of mental illness, that is consumer-driven. The inclusion of personal records is an empowering move for mental health consumers who will be able to make informed decisions and record their medications, goals, and journey towards wellness.

The content focus is to provide the opportunity for translation into multiple languages to meet the needs of CALD mental health communities. This initiative will improve access for CALD consumers and overcome existing inequities in health care that generally see CALD consumers receiving treatment at a later stage of their illness. This often results in longer admissions which also take place at a later stage of their illness. In the interests of equity in accessing suitable healthcare, it is a high priority to assist CALD consumers and their carers to understand their options in regard to mental health care. The portal will also be an excellent tool for mental health professionals to provide psycho-education services to CALD consumers and carers.

By maintaining user awareness of published information on emerging and changing trends with mental health management, the portal will empower CALD consumers, carers, and families to make informed decisions that are consistent with recovery and Strengths (an acknowledged best practice approach in mental health) based approaches. This will improve their health literacy, self-management, social support, and quality of life.

What outcomes were achieved?

  • Surveys have been sent out to a variety of user groups and approximately 200 have been received including 41 from consumers, 12 from carers, 11 from medical staff, 54 from nurses, 22 from pharmacy staff and 46 from other areas.  We are collating and analyzing the data.
  • Within the framework about 80% of the intended content pages have been completed by different contributors.  The Project Manager successfully approached a variety of experienced specialists who have provided appropriate content on subjects such as the mental health system in Australia, disease conditions, dental care, psychotropic medications, pet therapy, etc.  The Project Manager has also provided content on topics such as medication.

The completed content pages have been forwarded to various expert groups for review and input. The website is mostly ready to be uploaded and then replicated into various languages.  This will be the next stage of the project which St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne will be sourcing funding for.

The following achievements have been made (as at March 2015):

  • The website content has been finalised and is now completely ready for uploading.
  • The final statistical data has been received and analysed.  This will be presented at to the St Vincent’s Research Academic Group in May 2015.  This information will also be prepared for submission as an article to various relevant journals for consideration.
  • The Project Manager will present the aSMILE project at the St Vincent’s Research Academic Group meeting in May 2015.
  • All feedback related to the project will be collated and prepared for submission to relevant journals.

The project team at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne is confident of their longer term goals of making a positive impact with consumers, carers and public users, as well as providing education to enhance medication adherence and improve overall quality of life. The next stage, which is outside the project’s objectives, is to upload it on the Internet as a live site, creating a phone application and translation/replication into specific language versions.  


An early version of aSMILE ( has been installed to provide some background information about the project. This will help test-users and other project participants to view and then provide feedback on whether more information is needed for different areas.




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