Telehealth Services

In response to COVID-19, we are adjusting our service delivery at Sonder to incorporate video and phone counselling (Telehealth).

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth allows you to talk to a Sonder Worker, privately through a phone or video call rather than seeing them in person. The Sonder Worker will listen and help you with strategies to get through tough times. You will be able to see, hear and talk to your Worker, exactly as if you were talking to them in person.

Sonder uses systems that meet recommended standards to protect the privacy and security of Telehealth appointments and are in accordance with the Australian Privacy Act and Australian Privacy Principles.


Why is Sonder offering Telehealth?

We’ve taken this step to ensure the safety of our clients, their family and friends, and staff working in our Sonder Centres due to COVID-19.


How does an appointment via Telehealth work?

A telehealth appointment is just like a normal appointment; only you will be seeing and speaking to your Worker on a phone or computer/smartphone screen. Your worker will already have relevant information about you to support your telehealth session.

If you are unsure about using telehealth you can also have a family member, carer or friend with you if you wish with the consent of your worker. You will sit in front of a computer or smart device and you’ll be able to see yourself and your Worker on our Telehealth platform screen.

At the time of your video Telehealth session, your device will ring and the connection is made with your Worker and the sessions begins. The Worker will speak with you about your needs the same as if you were in the face-to-face consultation.


What equipment do I need for my appointment?

You’ll need a laptop, tablet or mobile and internet connection for online video appointments. If you prefer chatting over the phone, then just a mobile or landline is required. It’s a good idea to test your equipment 15 minutes prior to your appointment to prevent any delays.

Please ensure your device is plugged in or at least has enough charge for the duration of the required appointment.

It is important for you to use a secure internet connection rather than public/free Wi-Fi. This will provide greater security reducing the risk of unauthorized access to your session


What is required of me?

  • You will need to inform us of your location (address) at the start of each Telehealth session.
  • You will need to inform us if anyone else if as home (we will record this on your file so we can contact someone else at your home in an emergency).
  • Try to ensure any interruptions are minimised. Where possible, you will need to be in a quiet and private room. If you can’t find a space inside, maybe try your backyard. If you’re comfortable, let your family know you are on a call and ask for some space. If this feels too much, please let your Worker know so that they can support you to figure out how best to manage this. Please inform your Worker if the privacy or confidentiality of the room is compromised/breached at any stage of the appointment
  • Other devices which could interrupt the telehealth session should be muted/switched off.
  • You are not permitted to record the Telehealth appointment without advance written permission of Sonder.
  • It is important to be on time for your Telehealth appointment. If you need to cancel or change your appointment, you must notify us in advance by phone
  • During video Telehealth appointments, look at the video camera on your monitor/smart device so you have good eye contact with your Worker.
  • Speak clearly so your voice can be picked up by the microphone.
  • If you have a question or want more information during the appointment, just ask your Worker.
  • If you are not an adult, we need the permission of your parent or legal guardian (and their contact information) for you to participate in Telehealth appointments.

What will happen if the audio/video technology fails?

There may be delays or lags in video Telehealth on occasions due to failures of the video platform and internet connection.

When we commence Telehealth appointments, we will develop a Safety Plan with you. This plan includes a phone number where you can be reached. We need this information to restart the session or to reschedule it, in the event of technical problems.

Your Safety Plan will include at least one emergency contact and crisis supports for you, in the event of a crisis situation.

If the video Telehealth connection drops out, your Worker will contact you on your personal phone number to continue the session.

If you do not answer, we will contact your nominated parent/guardian/support person via phone as a safety measure.

If we have serious concerns for your welfare, we will consider whether we need to involve emergency or crisis services to check in and support you.


What are the benefits of a Telehealth appointment?

Telehealth appointments allow for a reduced waiting time to see our service. It also means you don’t have to travel to our service and can engage in physical distancing and stay at home, self-isolating. Telehealth assists us to better look after you ‘remotely’ in what we realise can be a difficult time for many.


What are the risks of a Telehealth appointment?

A phone or video consultation may not be exactly the same, and may not be as complete as a face-to-face service. You could also run into some technical problems that affect phone/video sessions on occasions. Sonder uses systems that meet recommended standards to protect the privacy and security of Telehealth visits and are in accordance with the Australian Privacy Act and Australian Privacy Principles. Any internet based service carries an inherent risk from unauthorised access. The security measures in place mitigate this risk, but it does exist.


What costs are involved?

Calls via phone will be free unless we inform you otherwise. A typical ‘data’ cost to you for a video Telehealth session will be approximately 1 GB per 60 minutes.

Please ensure you have enough data on your device or desktop for a video Telehealth based session to be conducted for the duration of the required appointment. If this will cause difficulties for you please let your worker know.

If you do not have enough data for a video Telehealth session, will be provided with the option of a phone based appointment or a face to face appointment.


Telehealth sounds strange, what if I’m not comfortable with it?

For some people, it can be strange at first, however your Worker will help you feel comfortable and become familiar with the process. Phone and video services can be a positive experience, as people may feel less self-conscious.If you’re not comfortable, let your Worker know. Once they understand your challenges they’re much better placed to address them and support you to access sessions in a way that works for you. This could include a follow up face-to-face visit, a Telephone appointment (without video) or trying a second video Telehealth visit after some problem solving or adjustments to suit you.

You may change your mind and stop using Telehealth appointments at any time. This will not make any difference to your right to ask for and receive alternative health care services from Sonder.


What about confidentiality and privacy?

We will not record or store Telehealth appointments.

Your rights to confidentiality and privacy will always respected. Sonder will not disclose your private information unless we have your consent to do so, or are authorised or required to by law.

If we have concerns there is a risk to the safety of you or others, we will need to act on this, and this may involves sharing your details with others.

Please refer to the Privacy Policy on our website for more details.

If you have any concerns about our policies and procedures relating to Telehealth or would like to lodge a complaint or concern you may do so at any stage by contacting us on (08) 8209 0700 or info@sonder.net.au


If you have any questions or concerns about using Telehealth with Sonder, please contact us on (08) 8209 0700


Please note

The latest medical information is changing on a daily basis. If you suspect you are at risk, or would simply like to understand COVID-19 more, please visit the Department of Health’s website health.gov.au


Help in an emergency

Mental Health Emergency

If you are experiencing a Mental Health Emergency please call the Mental Health Triage Service on 13 14 65.

If you are under 18 years and experiencing a Mental Health Emergency please call the Women’s and Children’s Hospital on 8161 7000.

Crisis and emergency support

Sonder does not offer crisis and emergency support. Please contact one of the below services that can assist 24 hours a day.

Triple 0 (Ambulance, Fire,Police) 000

Lifeline 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Get in touch today!