My name is Phillipa Brown. I’m a psychologist and entrepreneur dedicating my time to improving access to mental health services by making them more available and accessible online through telehealth psychology services in an online platform.
I thought up the idea of my business over eight years ago while I was undergoing my psychology studies. I was born in a small country town, which at the time had a population of around 500 people and the nearest city was a three-hour drive. When I was younger, my father became unwell where access to specialist health services were only available in the city, which meant that he was often gone for long periods of time to obtain the treatments he required. Although the health services have improved in the surrounding areas, today, there are still huge limitations for those living outside of major cities to access healthcare. This gap in the market related to mental health was the opportunity I saw to make a difference and utilise my professional qualifications and expertise to make change for the better for those living in rural and regional areas.
Phillipa Brown, Psychologist & Entrepreneur
What is your business name and how do you help your clients?
The business is called MeHelp Psychology, yes that’s ‘Help Me,’ backwards. It is an online platform that provides mental health services through video, phone or text message to clients who may be unable to access traditional face-to-face service, for a variety of reasons, including personal preference. Clients can connect with registered psychologists through the digital channel that works best for them. This eliminates the need for clients to travel to appointments, saving them time, reducing stress and costs, provide greater accessibility and also give alternate psychology services delivery channels that clients may prefer. Additionally, the platform provides greater flexibility for clients, as they can schedule appointments at times that work best for them, including evenings and weekends.
Our goal is to make mental health services accessible to everyone, regardless of their circumstances, and to provide a safe and supportive space for individuals to seek help and professional support. Our team of experienced and qualified psychologists are passionate about helping clients improve their mental health and wellbeing, and work collaboratively with clients to develop personalised treatment plans tailored to their individual needs. With the convenience and flexibility of our online platform, clients can access therapy from the comfort and privacy of their own home or wherever they may be, allowing them to prioritise their mental health even in the midst of busy schedules or travel difficulties.
What are your current goals for your business?
MeHelp Psychology's goal of implementing easier access to psychological services online is aimed at addressing the barriers that many people face in accessing mental health services, particularly those who live in rural and regional areas. These individuals often have limited access to mental health services due to their location and may need to travel long distances to access care, which can be expensive, time-consuming, and a significant barrier to seeking help. Even in metropolitan cities, long waitlists can make it difficult for people to receive the care they need, when they need it.
In the short term, MeHelp Psychology aims to establish itself as a trusted provider of online mental health services, building a strong reputation for delivering high-quality care to clients. To achieve this, the company has invested in the development of a secure, user-friendly online platform that is accessible to clients across different devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. MeHelp Psychology has also spent time attracting a team of highly qualified and experienced psychologists who specialise in different areas of mental health, so that clients can receive the tailored support they need.
In the long term, MeHelp Psychology’s goals are to expand its reach and impact, enabling more people to access mental health services regardless of their location or circumstances. We are also continuing to invest in ongoing research and development to identify new ways to improve the quality and accessibility of our services.
What kind of audience do you target your business towards?
MeHelp Psychology targets a diverse audience of individuals who are seeking mental health services, including those who may face barriers accessing traditional face-to-face services. This includes people who live in rural or remote areas, who may not have access to help in their local area, as well as those who face financial barriers to accessing psychology services. Our platform is also designed to help individuals who may be hesitant to seek help due to social stigma or anxiety about attending in-person therapy sessions. We cater to a wide range of clients, from stay-at-home parents to busy professionals, students, and anyone else who may find it difficult to attend appointments during traditional business hours. Our goal is to make mental health services accessible and convenient for everyone, regardless of their circumstances.
If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?
One thing that could be changed in the mental health industry in Australia is the level of government funding allocated to various mental health services. The lack of funding means that many people who need mental health services are sometimes unable to access them due to financial constraints. While the Medicare rebate scheme in Australia is helpful, it does not cover the full cost of psychological services, leaving many unable to afford the gap fee.
If more government funding was allocated to reducing the payment gap between the cost of services and the government rebate, this would enable more people to access the care they need, regardless of their financial circumstances. This could include increasing the availability of government funded services for those experiencing financial hardship or increasing the number of subsidised mental health services available in community health centres and hospitals. Additionally, more funding could be directed towards research and development to improve the effectiveness of mental health treatments and to develop new therapies and interventions.
Who inspires you to be the best that you can be?
Although my father passed away when I was younger, he inspires me to live life to its fullest and be the best I can be every day. I want to ensure that I live my life in a meaningful way just as he would have wanted to me to do and also do himself if his life wasn’t unfairly cut short. No day can be a wasted day when you think about the mortality and fragility of life.
I’m also as inspired and motivated by my two children who have taught me I have more patience than I ever thought possible and my husband who is my rock and provides me with invaluable help and guidance learned through his entrepreneurial successes and experience.
What is your work inspired by?
The work I do is inspired by people every day, regardless of their background or profession. My work has allowed me to engage with a diverse range of individuals, including those I've encountered in community mental health care and those I've spoken with through my private practice. Their strength and resilience despite their struggles inspire me to continue advocating for better mental health care and reducing stigma around seeking help. By recognising the value in every person's story and journey, I have found inspiration and draw upon these experiences to further inform and enhance my work in the field of mental health.
In addition to those I've worked with directly, I also find inspiration in public figures such as influential personalities who use their platforms to promote mental health awareness and support. Whether it's on camera or through their social media presence, seeing others advocate for better mental health care reminds me of the importance of the work I do and motivates me to continue making a difference. Overall, my experiences have taught me that inspiration can come from anyone, at any time, and that we all have something to learn from each other.