Early psychosis networking: A pilot Facebook group for mental health professionals in Victoria

Helen Osman1,2, Frances Foster1, Lucas Coulson1, Craig MacNeil1, Richard Monfries1; 1Orygen Youth Health, EPPIC Statewide Services, 2Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have gained substantial popularity in recent years, allowing people to connect with each other and providing a platform for online communities to develop around a common purpose. Online communities have been shown to be effective in both undergraduate and ongoing continuing education learning contexts and can support the development of communities of practice. Facebook groups provide a low cost online environment that can be moderated, to facilitate networking and allow professionals to share ideas, activities, resources and events. EPPIC Statewide Services (ESW) is a dedicated education, training and service development program in Victoria, Australia that specialises in first episode psychosis. A Facebook group was piloted in response to feedback from stakeholders, particularly geographically isolated clinicians in rural and remote areas, requesting opportunities for networking with other clinicians. The development and trial of the pilot Facebook group, as a platform for networking amongst public mental health clinicians with an interest in FEP and related disorders will be described. The aim of the group is to facilitate discussion in the area of FEP and related disorders; increase awareness of existing resources in the area of FEP and related disorders and reduce professional isolation. Preliminary evaluation data will presented and considerations for future use in early psychosis workforce development will be discussed.

Topic Area: Service System Development and Reform

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