A new website developed by a Swinburne University of Technology researcher offers free psychologically-focused treatment for people suffering with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The disease, affecting an estimated 75,000 Australians, is often accompanied by anxiety and depression.
The online service - IBDclinic.org.au – was launched as part of World IBD Day.
IBD, a condition that includes both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is characterised by diarrhea, urgency, abdominal pain and rectal bleeding.
It is also associated with psychological issues - rates of reported psychological symptoms are up to 50 per cent higher than in comparison to other chronic disease illness groups.
IBDclinic.org.au offers information and support for people with IBD who suffer psychological distress, giving them access to two six-week online anxiety and depression treatment programs.
Clinical psychologist and Swinburne researcher Dr Simon Knowles has been instrumental in developing the clinic.
“I know that many individuals with IBD experience psychological distress. However IBD-focused psychological support services are not readily available or accessible,’’ he said.
“IBDclinic.org.au provides a free program that brings together validated psychological treatments shown to be effective in reducing the psychological distress associated with IBD.’’
The clinic is a result of research collaboration between Swinburne’s Faculty of Health, Arts and Design; and hospitals, including the Royal Melbourne and St Vincent’s.
Students from Swinburne’s Psychological Sciences department developed much of the content for IBDclinic.org.au. The website is also supported by materials developed from funding by the Broad Medical Research Program of the Broad Foundation based in the US.