Technology has changed the landscape in which psychiatry operates. Effective, evidence-based treatments for mental health care are now available at the fingertips of anyone with Internet access. However, technological solutions for mental health are not necessarily sought by consumers nor recommended by clinicians.
The objectives of this study are to identify and discuss the barriers to introducing eHealth technology-supported interventions within mental health.
An interactive polling tool was used to ask "In this brave new world, what are the key issues that need to be addressed to improve mental health (using technology)?" Respondents were the multidisciplinary attendees of the "Humans and Machines: A Quest for Better Mental Health" conference, held in Sydney, Australia, in 2016. Responses were categorized into 10 key issues using team-based qualitative analysis.
A total of 155 responses to the question were received from 66 audience members. Responses were categorized into 10 issues and ordered by importance: access to care, integration and collaboration, education and awareness, mental health stigma, data privacy, trust, understanding and assessment of mental health, government and policy, optimal design, and engagement. In this paper, each of the 10 issues are outlined, and potential solutions are discussed. Many of the issues were interrelated, having implications for other key areas identified.
As many of the issues identified directly related to barriers to care, priority should be given to addressing these issues that are common across mental health delivery. Despite new challenges raised by technology, technology-supported mental health interventions represent a tremendous opportunity to address in a timely way these major concerns and improve the receipt of effective, evidence-based therapy by those in need.