Success: A local initiative that helps people with mental health issues gain basic computer skills finished up yesterday to huge praise.
Success: A local initiative that helps people with mental health issues gain basic computer skills finished up yesterday to huge praise. Bruce Thomas

Tech solution for mental illness

TURNING on a computer and sending an email are two things most of us do as part of our day to day life, but for some, it’s a daunting experience.

Yesterday, a group of people with mental health issues finished a course at Coffs Harbour TAFE that gave them basic computer skills and in turn, a new lease on life.

The joint initiative between NSW TAFE, Community Mental Health and On Track is aimed at minimising social isolation and giving people practical skills to help build their confidence and self-esteem.

“A lot of these people didn’t even know how to turn on a computer,” teacher Robin Macgregor said.

“Now they’ve learnt how to access the internet and the services it offers, how to look for job opportunities and further study options – they have done incredibly well.”

LifeHouse Care donated reconditioned computers to those participants who didn’t already have a computer at home.

Mental Health Network Rehabilitation co-ordinator Judy O’Mara said the course helped break the cycle of social isolation many people with mental health issues were forced to deal with.

“Many people with mental health issues think the idea of TAFE or studying is such a long way away – this course shows them it is relatively easy and safe and they can do it,” Ms O’Mara said.

“We had such a great response we have a waiting list and have decided to run the course again next term.”



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