Online therapy? Not so crazy after all

e-mental health

Mental health care is not accessible to everyone. It’s a fact that less than fifty percent of people who need treatment actually get it. But access to an internet connection is available to most people. So it makes sense to offer more health services online.

Although the opinions are divided about Dr Google, health experts now agree on one thing: internet therapy for many mental health problems works.

5 benefits

E-mental health is a broad term used for mental health services delivered via internet programs, telehealth, mobile phone applications and websites. There are five benefits:

  1. It can be accessed anytime and anywhere
  2. There are no or low costs to patients
  3. It fills service gaps
  4. It reduces wait lists
  5. It’s cost-effective to the health system.

Some patient groups will benefit less from online therapy, such as people with complex or severe mental illness, personality disorders, substance dependence, or people who have a higher risk of self-harm or suicide and need urgent clinical management.

Who is it for?

E-mental health probably works best for people at risk of illness or people with mild to moderate symptoms. It is used in many ways including first-line treatment and relapse prevention. Evidence shows that it can be as effective as face-to-face therapy. Using the services in combination with regular visits to a doctor is ideal.

If you want to know what e-mental health services are available and how reliable they are, click here (free registration). The site uses a smiley system to show how much evidence there is that a service works.

More information and free e-mental health training for health professionals can be found here. The RACGP has published a handy e-mental guide for GPs.

Have a look at the video as well. Before you use any of the online services it is recommended to check the terms and conditions so you know what happens with the personal information you provide.

Follow me on Twitter: @EdwinKruysDisclaimer and disclosure notice.

Sources:

2 thoughts on “Online therapy? Not so crazy after all

  1. Pingback: Online therapy? Not so crazy after all | FOAM4GP

  2. There’s also a free accredited online education program about eMH and an online community for doctors interested in helping their patients use e-mental health resources. They are funded by the federal government under an educational project called e-Mental Health in Practice (eMHPrac) and run by the Black Dog Institute.
    Go to http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/emhprac to learn more and join the conversation. .

    Liked by 1 person

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