TERMS AND CONDITIONS – GENERAL Each client is allowed only one account and this account must reflect your current details and emergency contact information. depressionServices requires you to notify the Professional Services Staff of any changes to your personal details. Appropriate Use When applying to become a client of depressionServices, you are agreeing to abide by the Terms and Conditions. These are in place to maintain a high level of service quality. Breaches of the Terms and Conditions will be addressed by the Professional Services Staff and will involve the withdrawal of access to depressionServices. depressionServices does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, be it based on racial, sexual, ethnic, political, religious, age, gender, socio-economic, marital status or in any other form. It is inappropriate to use depressionServices if you are under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol and may result in the withdrawal of access to the service. Security depressionServices utilises state of the art online security software and does its utmost to protect all information transferred and/or exchanged over the internet. Please be assured that all information is securely kept in a clinical database in depressionServices secured server. Applications and Entry depressionServices are offered without cost to eligible clients. In order to become a client of depressionServices an applicant must complete the application process. The application process is complete only after the application is submitted and the validation of details has occurred. You will be contacted within five working days after your application has been submitted. All details that are submitted in the application must be true and accurate in that they reflect your current status and personal details, emergency contact information and current mental health status. Applicants agree to be contacted through their preferred means of communication by a Professional Services team member to verify their details. The utmost sensitivity will be maintained throughout this process, with all letters and phone conversations being directed to the applicants themselves, and no mention of depressionServices to others who may be receiving the telephone call. Privacy and Confidentiality depressioNet collects personal information from individuals through the application process. Whenever such information is collected, the purpose is for the delivery of services including the determination of eligibility and provision of specific resources. Information may also be collected by the marketing and fundraising department, if selected by the applicant during the application process, for the transmission of Newsletters and other depressioNet promotional material. All communication will be predominantly through email. depressioNet collects anonymous information for the purpose of reporting and research with any identifiable information being de-identified prior to use. Clients may request access to their personal information held by depressioNet by requesting and completing the relevant form through Quality@iHealth.org.au. depressionServices Staff and Volunteers abide by depressioNet’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and maintain the privacy and confidentiality of information and material communicated within the service. Your information is collected in accordance with depressioNet’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy which entails the following:- depressionServices will not use or disclose any information about you without your consent unless we are required to do so by law;- depressionServices will never use your personal information to send you unsolicited information or ‘spam’; and- depressionServices will never give any of your personal information, your email address or your browser details to any advertisers.depressionServices may use your information for professional purposes (clinical supervision and training). However please note that all identifying information will be removed to protect your privacy and anonymity. If you would like a copy of the depressioNet Privacy and Confidentiality policy, please email your request to Quality@iHealth.org.au. Limits to Confidentiality The Professional Services Staff at depressionServices are required by Federal, State and their Professional Code of Ethics to protect the confidentiality and privacy of clients. In the main, the Professional Services Staff will not release any information about you without your informed consent. A ‘Release of Information’ Form is required to be signed by you before information is released to a third party. However, there are limits to confidentiality, such as where there is reasonable evidence to suggest that: You are currently psychologically and/or physically unsafe; You may do harm to yourself or another person; You may damage the property of another person; You disclose details of a crime that you have committed which you have not been charged for or convicted of, particularly when the protection of children and vulnerable adults is a concern; You are involved in an activity conducted by a certain terrorist group and may do harm to others; or There is a court order subpoenas. In any of the above circumstances, the Professional Services Staff will notify you if there is a need to release any of your information and will take the necessary action, namely contacting the appropriate authorities or relevant parties in order to ensure that yours and others’ safety is maintained. Suicide and Self Harm Concerns depressionServices is not a crisis service, and does not provide emergency support for people who are currently (within the last four weeks) engaged in self harm behavior and or actively suicidal. If you are in such a situation, we encourage you to contact a help lines such as Lifeline on 13 11 14, emergency services on 000 or your healthcare practitioner. Further resources can be found here – http://www.depressionservices.org.au/links/suicide-prevention-crisis.html. A member of the Professional Services team will withdraw access immediately if a client is at an immediate risk of suicide, homicidal or engaging in self-harm behaviours. Short Message Service (SMS) depressionServices provides a free short message service (SMS). This service is used to provide you with appointment reminders, messages of well-being and positive affirmations. The service is a one way communication where you will not be able to respond to the SMS message that you receive. Liability depressionServices holds no responsibility if the connection with the website becomes unavailable. In addition, depressionServices is not liable if your computer system, software and data technical difficulties occur in connection to the website. Furthermore, depressionServices holds no responsibility and is not liable in regards to any computer viruses or computer corruption. Additional Information The Terms and Conditions address the salient operational requirements of the Professional Services. However, there may be times when a Professional Services Staff makes a specific request of you that is not detailed in the above Terms and Conditions; in these circumstances depressionServices reserves the right to do so. PEER SUPPORT SERVICE SPECIFIC TERMS AND CONDITIONS Prior to engaging in the Peer Support Service, you are required to have read the information on the website http://www.depressionservices.org.au relating to the Peer Support Service. Application Process All applicants agree to attend an induction session with a member of the Professional Services Staff or a Volunteer. This session will last for approximately 20 – 30 minutes, and will cover information about the service and the way support is given and received in peer support. The session is conducted online in a Discussion Room as a one to one private discussion, and access will be temporarily granted to the service in order for the induction to be completed following a successful validation. Due to the importance of the induction session, failure to attend two scheduled induction sessions, without providing at least 24 hours prior notice, will result in your application not being processed. Clients subscribing to the receive SMS will be sent an induction reminder 24 hours prior to the scheduled time. Confidentiality You are required to keep all identifying details private, such as your surname, address, contact details, place of employment and places you frequent when engaging in the Service. This includes, and is not limited to: email addresses, phone numbers, MSN account name, Facebook/MySpace profile, personal homepage, etc. It is suitable to use your first name or your client username within the service; however, it is inappropriate to use the first and/or last names of people such as family, friends or healthcare professionals within this service. As depressionServices may be accessed by people Australia-wide, it is possible that you may discover that you know someone using the service. It is inappropriate to discuss relationships that occur outside of depressionServices within this service, and you agree to keep confidential any information regarding that person. Do not let others know of your password, or let another person use your account. This could result in confusion and potential misuse of your account by someone with these details and access. Further, do not use your details to pass on information from previous clients. If we become aware of any such incident, your access will be immediately withdrawn and your future access to the Service will need to be reviewed. Profile Use A profile is the assortment of characteristics related to a client’s access within the service, including usernames, avatars, and posting signatures. Usernames must not contain words that could be viewed as explicit, offensive, or contain any part of your surname – however, using your first name is acceptable. An avatar is the picture that will accompany your posts that are made within the Forums. These avatars must not be a picture of a person – whether it be yourself or another – and cannot contain copyrighted material. Signatures, or sign-off messages, can also accompany the posts that you make, and these may contain brief quotes or passages as long as they are appropriately referenced, and do not include copyrighted material such as song lyrics. Specific Forum and Discussion Room Conditions depressionServices Peer Support Services also have the following specific conditions:
Communication is to be respectful at all times with Staff, Volunteers and clients;
The service is not to be used to make web logs or ‘blogs’;
All clients are to provide peer support and not counselling to other clients;
All information communicated is to be based on personal experiences and opinions and not professional knowledge;
Be accurate and truthful about your experiences;
Do not post external links within the Forums or Discussion Rooms as we cannot guarantee the content of such links;
Do not post copyrighted material, or material that you have copied from another source such as a text book, song lyric, or poetry without appropriate referencing;
If you have an article, poem, or similar contribution, email peersupportteam@iHealth.org.au for review and do not post directly to the service; and
Do not advertise goods or services within the service.
Exiting the Service If you do not access the service for a period of six months or more, your access will be temporarily withdrawn. If you choose to exit the service at any time and wish to re-enter at a later date, you will be required to complete a new application form to provide updated details about your current situation. The Professional Services Staff will process accordingly. If you choose to exit the Service, please emails us on application@iHealth.org.au with the notification and we will withdraw your access. depressionServices encourages clients to enter and exit the service when they feel it is right for them. In line with the Health Records Act Victoria 2001, your details will remain securely stored in our database for a period of at least seven years following your exit. COUNSELLING AND GROUP THERAPY SPECIFIC TERMS AND CONDITIONS Prior to engaging in the Counselling Service, you are required to have read the information on the website http://www.depressionservices.org.au relating to Counselling. Group Therapy forms part of the Counselling Service. As a result, clients engaged in Group Therapy are required to agree to the general Terms and Conditions for the Counselling Service as well as Terms and Conditions that are specific to Group Therapy. Appropriate Use of the Counselling Service You are required to attend all scheduled appointments and 24 hours notice is required for the cancellation of an appointment. The re-scheduling of cancelled appointments will be at the discretion of the Counsellor. Appropriate Use of Group Therapy The nature of Group Therapy means that sessions cannot be re-scheduled if you are unable to attend. As a Group Therapy client you are therefore required to commit to attending all scheduled sessions and participating fully in the program. Assessment and Treatment Process - Counselling You will need to undergo an assessment process if you decide to engage in the Counselling Service. During the assessment process, you are required to provide true and accurate information to the best of your knowledge about your mental health status, area of difficulties, current coping abilities and support networks. You will also be required to participate in a number of questionnaires. During the assessment phase, you will also be asked to agree to and accept a counselling contract discussed between you and your allocated counsellor. The counselling contract outlines the guidelines and parameters for engaging in counselling. It is expected that you and your allocated counsellor will adhere to these guidelines throughout counselling. Before commencing counselling, it is recommended that you begin to identify the areas related to your depression that you wish to make positive changes to whilst engaged in counselling. The focus of counselling at depressionServices is on goals which relate to your overall management of depression. Your goals for counselling will be discussed with your allocated counsellor primarily in the assessment sessions and throughout the treatment process. Therefore, counselling is goal focused, directional and aims to assist you to better manage your depression. During the treatment phase, you are required to abide by the counselling contract and work collaboratively with the Counsellor in addressing your presenting issues and depressive symptoms with the aim to move towards an overall improvement in your level of day to day functioning and wellbeing. Any deviations from the counselling contract may result in you being exited from the counselling process and your access to depressionServices being withdrawn. Short term counselling (up to 6 sessions) is offered within the treatment phase. Primarily Solution Focused and Cognitive Behavioural Approaches are adopted by the Counsellors when working with you. Assessment and Treatment Process – Group Therapy As a part of Group Therapy you will be required to complete questionnaires and read the provided materials prior to group sessions. In Group Therapy you will be required to participate in the set program material. You therefore do not need to identify problematic areas relating to your depression. Group Therapy adopts a Cognitive Behavioural Approach. This approach requires you to complete the assigned preparatory material and homework tasks. Privacy and Confidentiality The Professional Services Staff at depressionServices conduct the counselling and group therapy sessions within the context of a private office. The Professional Services Staff will securely store your personal information, case notes and transcripts of each session in the clinical database in accordance with depressioNet’s Privacy and Confidentiality policy. Limits to Confidentiality in Group Therapy It is important to remember that in Group Therapy your fellow group members are not counsellors. They are therefore not bound by the same ethical codes to keep confidential the information shared in group sessions. In an effort to protect confidentiality, all group members are required to keep private the information disclosed during group sessions. It is the policy of depressioNet that any group members who are found to have violated other members’ confidentiality will be removed from the program. depressioNet however cannot be held responsible for any such disclosures by other group members. Closure Process In the closure stage, the Counsellor will ensure that the counselling process is finalised and any referrals that are required will be made so you can continue your journey towards improving your mental health and wellbeing. At the end of treatment, you are required to complete an evaluation form detailing your progress in treatment and your experience in counselling. depressionServices is keen to capture your feedback so we can continue to make improvements and provide a high quality service. If in the future you wish to reapply for the Counselling Service, it is expected that you have made a positive move towards change in your overall well being and have integrated the changes which came as a result of the previous counselling sessions.