What is the catalyst that drove the creation of Virtual Psychologist?
It’s simple really, Dervla says. When working as a senior psychologist for the government, I attended a young man’s home who was in need of support. Upon arriving, we sadly discovered that he had committed suicide earlier that day. What really caught my eye in this deeply saddening experience was his mobile phone lying beside him. I then thought ‘if only he had reached out to someone with a text message’.
Sometimes, picking up the phone and talking is hard for someone going through such challenges, but even though most people won’t talk, almost everyone will, at the very least, communicate over text. I went home that very day and quit my job and started Virtual Psychologist. It wasn’t rocket science. Something had to be done to prevent this from happening to others.
Since then Dervla has grown Virtual Psychologist to cover people across Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines with her sights globally focused. Virtual Psychologist now has many psychologists, counsellors, and support staff all working to ensure we limit the burden of mental ill-health for people across the world, and hopefully, save lives.
Who is Virtual Psychologist’s founder?
Virtual Psychologist’s founder and CEO Dervla is the power behind the company, winning various awards and partnering with some of Australia’s biggest corporate companies. Dervla is also a sought after keynote speaker, and thriving entrepreneur with a unique set of professional qualifications and skills in Mental Health.
Dervla is a registered psychologist with a background in IT. Having been a Lotus notes developer, and certifications in internet marketing, Dervla is familiar with technology and its application in the field of psychology. She holds degrees in Industrial Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Sport & Exercise psychology, and has worked for the government and international organisations as a senior psychologist for over 20 years.
2017 – Optus Future Makers Award
Q1 2019 – Singtel Regional Future Maker Award
Q4 2019 – Advanced Queensland Spark Innovative Impact Finalist Award
2020 – SheEO Female Entrepreneur Semi Finalist
2020- Impact Growth Grant recipient
2020- Trade Investment Queensland Go Global Export Grant recipient
Where are we now?
Despite Covid-19 shutting down the planet we have fought on and have hit some exciting milestones. Dervla Loughnane and Virtual Psychologist were featured in Vogue magazine (September 2020 issue) with a story regarding our success in revolutionizing psychology services globally. This was an exciting experience that highlights our success in not only the world of psychology but our contribution to the advancement of mental health technologies. It is a testament to the hard work and innovation of the team at Virtual Psychologist.
In June 2020 we started our first service in the Philippines providing EAP support to the staff of a major telecommunications provider. On the first day, in the first hour, we had 94 clients message us either for support or to thank us for bringing our innovative support services to the Philippines. This service has had a 98% retention rate, 98% recommendation to family and friend rate, and 94% of our clients feeling safer using text-based psychology services over traditional EAP services. We look forward to expanding our services further throughout South East Asia in the coming year.
Virtual Psychologist’s executive team have been invited as experts in the field of mental health and digital mental health technologies to consult on shaping the National Digital Mental Health Framework under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. We would like to thank PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and the Australian Government Department of Health for inviting us and for this recognition of our expertise in the field.
And finally, we have designed and developed our own software as a service (SAAS) platform that changes how psychologists engage with their clients in an innovative, easy to use way. We are confident this platform will revolutionize how we engage with our clients, automatically record session notes, and provide a channel for a more flexible working environment for psychologists post Covid-19. In addition to our SAAS platform we have also designed some innovative technology to further ease client communication through EAP which integrates into our platform.
We want you to know that by supporting us, you’re not only supporting a company that is making a measurable difference in the lives of others, but you’re also saving lives. Please don’t discount the effect your support is having. We just want to say Thank You; we really do appreciate your support in helping us make the world a better place… for everyone.