Technology and mental health: The role of e-mental health services in practice

Presentation First Author: 
Michelle Blanchard


A range of evidence-based e-mental health offerings have been developed and designed for young people. These online tools and interventions take the form of apps, websites and telehealth services, and serve a range of purposes on the spectrum from wellbeing to clinical care, ranging from encouraging self-managed wellbeing, to assistance in help-seeking, to resources to augment face-to-face treatment and to prevent relapse.

These e-mental health offerings and services are low cost, can be anonymous, and are accessible irrespective of geographic location. However, despite these developments, a range of challenges are hindering the uptake of such services, including:

• Many young people and their parents or carers do not know how to navigate the e-Mental health landscape.

• Mental health practitioners (psychiatrists, psychologists, general practitioners etc.) and other professionals that work with young people (school counsellors, welfare workers, youth workers etc.) are overwhelmed by the volume and ever-changing nature of the online environment which can result in a reluctance to embrace technology in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental ill health.

• Workplaces and educational institutions lack the knowledge of e-mental health to impart to their employees, or struggle make sense of how to best tailor this knowledge to the specific demographics of their workforce.

• At a policy and infrastructure level there are impediments to uptake such as lack of incentives for professionals to refer to e-Mental health solutions (no subsidies or credentialing of apps etc.) and rules such as social media bans in the classroom.

Objectives of presentation:

This presentation aims to take the form of a short workshop, and introduce mental health professionals to practical techniques that will assist them to get the most out of e-mental health services and integrate these offerings into their practice.

By beginning to educate interested parties – including workers with young people in health, education and welfare, members of the general public, workers in Governments, NGO’s and businesses organisations – in how to use technology to provide best-practice mental health and wellbeing care for young people, it is hoped that existing e-mental health offerings will be more widely embraced in clinical practice, and therefore more rigorously evaluated by mental health professionals.

Conference Name: 
Date of Presentation: 
10th Oct 2015
Type of presentation: 
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