How psychological telehealth can alleviate society's mental health burden: a literature review
PERLE Jonathan G., NIERENBERG Barry
The authors believe that with the current and growing prevalence of mental illness a major shift and expansion of clinical practice must occur to overcome the mental health burden and facilitate positive change. This article offers an outline of, and case for, incorporating telehealth in mental health practice. For the purposes of this review, telehealth specifically refers to synchronous web camera-based interventions. Novel options, including mHealth (mobile) and the use of computer tablets, are discussed. The implications for practice including training are considered, as well as potential future directions for the field. It is concluded that the available data supports telehealth as an effective mode for the treatment of clients who are unable to pursue mental health services as they are available. It appears that with careful planning, telehealth systems can significantly impact the quality, timeliness, and availability of services in almost any mental health care system. The authors emphasise that the goal is not to substitute for a “real” person but to integrate telehealth into overall provision. In some cases a consistent face-to-face interaction may be the best care but this may not always be possible. The authors conclude by emphasising the importance of appropriate training for the mental health professionals if telehealth is to be effectively.