Mental health affects one in five people every year. Digital health can improve access to care for some of the most vulnerable populations, including those experiencing mental health issues.
e-Mental Health refers to mental health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies, such as apps, videoconferencing and text.
e-Mental health Solution Supports Patients
Examples of digital health solutions used for mental health services include:
- Online self-help: Includes self-help modules and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) apps
- Crisis support: Includes phone help lines, text support, online chat support, hot spot notifications
- Medical intervention: Includes video-based counselling; telemedicine videoconferences; and text-based counselling, clinical follow up and referral
- Peer-led support: Includes online monitoring, peer support apps, social media, chat rooms, instant messaging, gaming
- Coaching: Includes online therapy; video, text and voice chat
Wait lists for treatment are lengthy and access to mental health care is limited by specialist availability, geography and cost. Counselling or psychotherapy is one of the most cited unmet needs among Canadians. Digital health can enable people to connect to a variety of care types through connected devices and solutions.
Projects such as the Big White Wall, an Infoway-funded project, offer 24/7 access to peer support for those dealing with mental health-related issues in Ontario.