Heart Leaf

What is the Cardiac Wellbeing Program?

The Cardiac Wellbeing Program® will be a state-wide fee-for-service clinic and forms a key pillar of the Australian Centre for Heart Health (ACHH). The Cardiac Wellbeing Program® will offer an integrated and comprehensive approach to enhancing cardiac wellbeing. The Program will provide psychological, social and behavioural support to cardiac patients and their families. The Cardiac Wellbeing Program® will be the only psychocardiology clinic of its kind in the world.  

Why do we need a Cardiac Wellbeing Program?

In the year after an acute cardiac event, almost all patients experience the cardiac blues, one in three experience severe anxiety, and one in five experience severe depression. Rates of anxiety and depression among people with heart disease are up to four times those seen in the general population. Unfortunately, few patients receive integrated care for their physical and mental health concerns. Indeed, many cardiac patients do not receive any support for the emotional and mental aspects of their condition. It is estimated that fewer than one in four cardiac patients with major depression are diagnosed as depressed, and only one in two patients diagnosed as depressed go on to receive treatment for their depression. Encouragingly, effective treatments are available for depression and anxiety, and to support behaviour change in patients with heart disease. 

The Cardiac Wellbeing Program® will provide a one-stop-shop for patients and their families to receive integrated psychosocial and behavioural support to improve their physical and mental wellbeing and reduce their risk of future events and hospitalisations.

The Cardiac Wellbeing Programs will be phased in as funding permits, following the formal launch in November 2016.

What services will the Cardiac Wellbeing Program offer?

All the programs offered in the Cardiac Wellbeing Program® will be evidence-based and have been extensively evaluated. The programs draw on the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) underpinned by a framework of self-regulation theory, all of which have been shown to be highly efficacious for cardiac patients and particularly effective in supporting behaviour change. These programs have been developed by our team of registered health psychologists and behaviour change experts, who are highly experienced in the development and delivery of support programs for cardiac patients and their families.

Teleheart is an 4-6 session telephone-delivered program for people who have had a cardiac event. It supports patients to make and sustain lifestyle changes, and is available to patients in the comfort of their own home. It is delivered by trained registered psychologists. This program provides an evidence-based personalised behaviour change and maintenance program where patients are supported by self-designed SMS messages. The program places a strong emphasis on self-regulation.

The Beating Heart Problems program is an 8-week group program for people who have had a cardiac event. The program addresses the key health behaviours – healthy eating, physical activity, and smoking cessation – and provides support in managing mood difficulties. The program is facilitated by one of our trained registered psychologists.

Back on Track with healthy lifestyle is a 3-session internet-delivered program for people who have had a cardiac event. It assists patients with physical activity, healthy diet and smoking cessation. It is available to patients 24-hours a day, thus can be accessed at a time that best suits patients. The program incorporates techniques from CBT and self-regulation theory.  
Back on Track with mood management is a single-session internet-delivered program to support patients experiencing the cardiac blues and/or depression after their cardiac event. Patients can undertake the program in the comfort of their own home. The module provides information, education and support for patients in managing their mental health.  
Cardiac Connect is an online community for people who have had a cardiac event. It is designed to provide follow-up support for patients, past patients, partners and family members. Cardiac Connect is facilitated by a trained registered health psychologist, and assists patients in maintaining a healthy body and mind. It is based on evidence that social support aids physical and emotional recovery of people with heart disease.


The HeartChild Family Coping program is an 8-module program delivered over five weeks, designed to assist parents of children with congenital heart disease. The program is delivered either individually or in groups. The program aims to enhance families’ capacity to deal with the challenges and stresses they encounter as parents of special needs children. The program is facilitated by trained psychologists and HeartKids Family Support Workers.


We look forward to adding the face to face counselling program later this year and are actively seeking corporate, philanthropic and government support to be able to deliver the full suite of programs.

Click here to view the Clinical Governance document for the Cardiac Wellbeing Program.