Head to Health

  • 2019

  • Digital
    Web Design and Development

Designed In:


Head to Health is the new federal mental health gateway from the Australian Department of Health. Built on a sophisticated digital platform and co-designed with lived-experience communities, it is an engaging and efficient way for Australians to find the right digital mental health supports for their needs.

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  • In 2014 a national review showed that while Australia leads the way in building mental health awareness, many Australians struggle to find the right services and resources for their needs. In response, the Australian Department of Health commissioned a digital mental health gateway. The challenge was to help ordinary consumers navigate a complex landscape in a way that was humane, empathetic, and practical. This meant creating a distinctive language and emotional palette, finding an intuitive structure for a complicated domain, and creating recommendation tools that could account for the complexities of every individual’s experience.

  • Through a rigorous co-design process with lived-experience consumers, we created a benchmark mental health platform that Australians love. Head to Health is a playful, simple, but also sophisticated, digital tool that gives consumers an intuitive conceptual model of mental health—including key risk and protective factors, common difficulties, and the value of different treatment channels—as well as personalised suggestions for resources or services that might be relevant to specific needs (without giving the impression of a diagnosis).

  • H2H receives around 30,000 unique visitors per month. An externally commissioned report found 85.8% of users rated the information quality positively, 86.3% rated the resource quality positively, and 82% of users would use the site in the future. Qualitative feedback includes: “Even though mental health is ‘scary’, the website makes it less intimidating.” “I think it’s brilliant. This is really needed. I really like the way it’s been divided up.” “Overall, really liking it. Lots of resources for workers, carers, family and friends and people suffering from mental health issues. I like the colour and animations. I like the assistant.”

  • Designing a site like H2H is challenging because mental health is fuzzy. The usual response is to provide either high-level advice—which is hit and miss—or comprehensive detail—which is impenetrable. H2H finds a middle way between these extremes. The card system At the heart of the site are resource cards. Since individual resources can map to different needs in different ways, we developed a cross-referenced tagging system that describes both content and relationships. Browse pages The first way users can find cards is by browsing topic pages, which provide a brief introduction to key concepts, experiences and conditions. The pages are organised in a way that communicates a conceptual model of mental health—from meaningful life through to providing support. Sam the Chatbot Many consumers don’t know what they’re experiencing or what they’re looking for. Sam the Chatbot is a specialised search tool that lets users describe their experiences in their own words, and then suggests possible ways of classifying the experience then suggest relevant cards. Sam’s not a real chatbot; it’s a highly tailored experience that satisfies the desire for conversational exchange but provides the efficiency of a wizard.