CQU research drives support for people with mental health challenges navigating legal system

10 October 2022

The Victorian Mental Health Legal Centre' in collaboration with CQUniversity researchers and tech startup Legal Tech Helper' launched an Online Help web application to provide people with mental health challenges and their families with tailored legal information.

The application uses an innovative guided pathway to help users to find easy-to-understand resources and services.

Designed for family members' carers' and friends of people living with mental health challenges' the public app can also support any member of the public' or assist referring organisations to help their clients.

The application is informed by cutting-edge research from CQUniversity College of Law scholars Dr Victoria Lambropoulos' Dr Luke Price and Dr Jacob Deem.

The team noted that "the guided pathways are unique and are specifically designed to make it easy for users to navigate and find help.

"This is essential' as complex systems and processes can exclude many people who are vulnerable or disadvantaged."

The intention of the guided pathways is to ensure users can access targeted information in various legal areas and take actionable steps.

"We are ensuring that those who are accessing legal information online are provided with targeted and clear information in an efficient manner. Notably' family members' friends and carers of consumers can receive support through this web application'" said Charlotte Jones' CEO of the Mental Health Legal Centre.

"During a time when phone calls to the Centre have increased significantly' this will allow us to maintain our telephone services for consumers and those with mental health challenges. MHLC has been delighted to partner with CQU and Legal Tech Helper who have worked diligently to achieve much more than we imagined would be possible at the start of this journey."

Legal Tech Helper' an innovative legal tech company' co-designed the web application in consultation with CQU and MHLC.

Co-founder Samantha Lovrich explained: "The web application has been informed by the legal centre's experiences with mental health consumers and their family' carers and other stakeholders.

"Our goals in building the web application were to make it user-friendly and accessible' and to protect the anonymity of users."

Websites designed to assist with legal information are often too complex' with an overwhelming amount of information to absorb.

These guided pathways effectively balance giving targeted legal information with user anonymity' and present useful information in an easy-to-understand way.

The project was funded by a Telematics Trust grant of approximately $50'000. Explore VMHLC's Online Help here.