To explore the characteristics and compare clinical outcomes of non-Australian born (migrant) and Australian-born users of an Australian national digital mental health service.
The characteristics and treatment outcomes of patients who completed online treatment at the MindSpot Clinic between January 2014 and December 2016 and reported a country of birth other than Australia were compared to Australian-born users. Data about the main language spoken at home were used to create distinct groups. Changes in symptoms of depression and anxiety were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Item (PHQ-9), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale – 7 Item (GAD-7), respectively.
Of 52,020 people who started assessment at MindSpot between 1st January 2014 and 22nd December 2016, 45,082 reported a country of birth, of whom 78.6% (n = 35,240) were Australian-born, and 21.4% (n = 9842) were born overseas. Of 6782 people who completed the online treatment and reported country of birth and main language spoken at home, 1631 (24%) were migrants, 960 (59%) were from English-speaking countries, and 671 (41%) were from non-English speaking countries. Treatment-seeking migrant users reported higher rates of tertiary education than Australian-born users. The baseline symptom severity, and rates of symptom reduction and remission following online treatment were similar across groups.
Online treatment was associated with significant reductions in anxiety and depression in migrants of both English speaking and non-English speaking backgrounds, with outcomes similar to those obtained by Australian-born patients. DMHS have considerable potential to help reduce barriers to mental health care for migrants.