Logging into therapy: A snapshot of the attitudes and intentions to use computer-based therapies of clinicians, adolescents, young adults and parents

Presentation First Author: 
Caroline Donovan

Introduction: Australia has led the way in the development, research and dissemination of computerised mental health interventions, including for youth mental health. However, despite the demonstrated efficacy of these programs and their potential to provide a larger proportion of the Australian populace with high quality treatment, their uptake is relatively low. It is important to consider the attitudes of those providing and seeking mental health services when examining potential reasons for poor uptake, as without commitment from clinicians, and favourable attitudes from young consumers; successful dissemination of these programs is unlikely.

Objectives: Our team has recently conducted four studies examining attitudes towards, and intentions to use, computer-based therapies for youth mental health problems. The participant groups included: clinicians serving youth populations; adolescents aged between 12 and 17; young adults aged 18-25; and parents of young people. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with the four groups measuring: demographics; mental health service experience; experiences with technology; perceived benefits, problems, and helpfulness of computer-based therapies; and intentions to use services.

Results: A snapshot of results from the four studies will be presented. Specifically, this paper will present rates of previous and current help-seeking, history of computer-based therapy use, perceived benefits and concerns of computerized therapy and future intention to use computerized approaches. This paper will highlight similarities and differences between clinicians, adolescents, young adults and parents.

Research and Practice Implications: Computer-based therapies hold enormous potential to reach larger proportions of young people experiencing mental health difficulties than traditional face-to-face services. Successful dissemination however, relies on ‘buy-in’ from all groups involved in the care of young people, including clinicians, parents and the young people themselves. Currently, lower than optimal rates of uptake limit the potential reach of computer-based therapy. This paper attempts to examine some of the perceived attitudes and intentions that may contribute to these low rates of uptake and therefore inform suitable approaches for dissemination of computer-based therapies.

Conference Name: 
Date of Presentation: 
9th Oct 2015
Type of presentation: 
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