We Value Your Privacy
Swinburne University of Technology (Swinburne) through the National eTherapy Centre (NeTC) acknowledges and respects the privacy of individuals. We advise that much of the information that you may have provided, or may be asked to provide, to the NeTC is 'personal information'.
The collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal information is regulated in Australia by the Privacy Act 1988 (the “Act) which defines personal information as:
…information or an opinion, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable
Examples of personal information includes your name, address and date of birth.
Why Do We Collect Your Information?
We collect your personal information to provide Mental Health Online services. The information we collect may include sensitive information and where a person is accessing the Therapist Assist program, health information.
While it is possible for you to interact with us under a pseudonym, for example to use the self-guided programs, in certain scenarios it may be necessary for us to collect certain personal information from you. We will not collect more personal information than we reasonably need to, to provide services to you.
Where information is collected for the purposes of research and publication, the Policy on the Conduct of Research is strictly adhered to. Please see Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018) for more information. Personal information used for research and publication purposes will be deidentified (that is, it will not have information capable of identifying you).
You may discontinue your participation in any Mental Health Online programs or research at any time, however the data provided prior to your withdrawal will be retained in accordance with the "How do we store your personal information section" of this document.
How Do We Collect Your Information?
You provide data to Mental Health Online directly through entering information into the website and some data is collected indirectly in order to authenticate and analyse your use of our service.
The kinds of personal information we collect will depend on which services you’re accessing at Mental Health Online. The personal information we may collect from you may include:
your email address, so that we can authenticate you electronically and create your account
your country of residence
your phone number
your date of birth
other demographic information such as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, gender identity and cultural diversity
The NeTC requests a username, email address, password, year of birth, gender (optional), Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status (optional) and country of residence you when you register for a user account on the Mental Health Online website. The Mental Health Online website is protected by third party software called reCAPTCHA V3, which is used to authenticate users during the registration process. During registration for an account, reCAPTCHA v3 uses an invisible process that collects information on your device and browser to determine that you are a legitimate user and not a robot.
If you do not agree to the use of the reCAPTCHA V3 process to authenticate your registration, a Mental Health Online account can be created upon request by emailing [email protected]
Online Psychological Assessment (e-PASS) System
When you complete the e-PASS, we will ask you to provide further demographic details and your responses to all questions will be recorded for assessment and results, service evaluation, as well as for reference by eTherapists if you choose to engage in the Therapist Assisted Program.
If you choose to use the e-PASS, the information you provide may be used to evaluate the services provided on the Mental Health Online website. Any information collected and analysed could be used when reporting back on the progress of Mental Health Online to our funding body and also for research purposes (e.g., publications). All your data will be analysed in a de-identifiable form and any reporting of the results will not be capable of identifying you.
You may be invited to participate in other related research, including the testing of the reliability, validity and user experience of the e-PASS. For further details relating to validation of the e-PASS please refer to the Policy on the Conduct of Research or Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
Beyond the research mentioned above, information is collected for the ongoing evaluation and improvement of the services provided by Mental Health Online.
Self Help Program
You may choose to enter information about your health and experiences as part of the program participation.
Therapist Assisted Program
If you choose to participate in the Therapist Assisted Program you will be required to provide additional details including your full name, home address, phone number and GP contact details. You will correspond via email with an eTherapist and have the option of also communicating via videoconference or live chat. Records of these interactions will be kept by the NeTC electronically. The disclosure of personal information will be at your discretion, but the greater disclosure you can provide, the more assistance the eTherapists can provide to you.
If you withdraw during the Self Help or Therapist Assisted Programs, you will be asked to complete an automated questionnaire about why you withdrew. Completing this questionnaire is entirely voluntary.
How do we store your personal information?
Any personal information that the NeTC collects is held with the strictest confidence. The NeTC uses and implements professional and industry standards for the security and protection of information collected, this information is securely stored, and access is restricted to authorised personnel of the NeTC only, ensuring that your personal information is protected and safeguarded. Information the NeTC collects is used only for the purpose stipulated at the time that the information is collected. The NeTC is required by law not to reveal, disclose, sell, distribute, rent, license, share or pass on to any third parties, any personal information that you may have provided to us unless we have your express consent to do so.
Exceptions to this include where the NeTC is required to provide information in response to Subpoenas or Warrants or other legal process.
How and when do we disclose your personal information?
Personal information may not be released by the NeTC to other organisations without the individual's consent. Exceptions include release of information in response to legal requirements such as a subpoena or concerns about the safety of user/client or others.
How can you access Your Information?
You have a right of access to, and alteration of personal information concerning yourself held by the NeTC, in accordance with the National Privacy Principles (Government Legislation).
How long will we keep Your Information?
We retain personal information in accordance with health records standards. All clinical records (which includes your account on the Mental Health Online website, assessments and entries into the website) will be retained for a minimum period of 7 years before being destroyed. User accounts with Mental Health Online will also be deleted after a period of no use for 7 years.
Data collected for the purposes of health research will be retained for a minimum period of 7 years after last usage or service provision, or five years after any research outcome based on the data, whichever is longer, before being destroyed.
Our interaction with you via the internet and social media
Cookies are an important part of how our services work and choosing to refuse or remove cookies may affect the availability and functionality of the service.
Mental Health Online uses the following third-party technologies as part of the service:
Google Analytics collects unidentifiable location-based data and information on user type. This allows us to generate reports to help us understand digital traffic and behaviour.
reCAPTCHA v3 is used to authenticate users during the process of registering for an account.
- Qualtrics is used to collect and store survey data (such as the feedback survey or outcome surveys we may ask you to complete). Qualtrics data is stored on Australian based servers and is subject to stringent privacy policies. For more information, please see Qualtrics Privacy and Security Statements.
Although most changes are likely to be minor, Mental Health Online may change our Privacy Statement from time to time. When we make material changes to this Statement we will post a link to the revised Statement on the homepage of our site. You can tell when this Statement was last updated by looking at the date at the bottom of the Statement. Any changes to our Statement will become effective upon posting of the revised Statement on the site. For other changes to this Privacy Statement, we encourage Users to check our site frequently.
Page last updated 08-02-2024