Media releases

October 16, 2003

Medibank Private nets depression

Australia’s largest private health insurer, Medibank Private, has joined forces with depressioNet, the online 24-hour information, help and support service for people living with depression.

The partnership aims to raise awareness of depression in Australia, and offers visitors to the Medibank Private website (www.medibank.com.au) valuable consumer information supplied by depressioNet.

Research shows that the Australian community has a low level of understanding about depressive disorders and many Australians suffering depression are reluctant to seek professional help.

depressioNet's Chief Executive Officer, Leanne Pethick, said one of the main benefits of the partnership is that via the Medibank Private website, people have increased discreet and anonymous access to valuable information, that may encourage depression sufferers to seek further help. It will also raise awareness of the 24 hour online peer support available for people with depression.

"Community education is one of the most effective tools in raising awareness and understanding of depression. The fact that the Medibank Private website is the most visited private health insurance website only guarantees that we are using the most logical means to reach as wide an audience as possible," Ms Pethick said.

Around 800,000 Australians suffer depression each year, with the illness representing the 4th leading cause of disability through physical illness in the Australian community.

Medibank Private Managing Director, George Savvides, said that unless depression is recognised and treated as an illness in its early stages, there are many greater consequences that may result, such as physical illness and suicide.

“Of all the mental disorders, depression and its related disorders are the most pervasive and costly. The direct cost of treating depression in the Australian community is estimated to be around $500 million each year, and this figure is expected to rise extensively over time. The true burden of depression, in terms of social, personal, and community costs, is far greater, and will continue to increase, unless we take preventative measures,” Mr Savvides said.

People who visit the Medibank Private website will have access to such valued depressioNet information including:

 Types of Depression;
 Igniters of Depression; and
 Related conditions.

Ms Pethick said she is excited to be working with the country’s largest private health insurer as depressioNet aims to reach as many Australians as possible.

“We hope to work together with Medibank Private in offering services that address the unique issues facing everyday Australians living with depression.”


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