What is Telemental Health?
Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, uses electronic communications and information technology to provide and support healthcare when distance separates patients from the clinician (1). Telemedicine uses various communication methods to connect clinicians and patients in lieu of their meeting in person.
The term “telemental health services” typically refers to behavioral health services that are provided using communication technology. These services include clinical assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, psycho-educational interventions, cognitive testing, and general psychiatry. The term telemental health describes the overall situation in which a clinician uses various technologies to deliver mental health care to a patient who is miles away.
The major benefit of telemental health is that it eliminates travel that may be disruptive or costly. In addition, telemental health is a useful tool in situations, such as in correctional and forensic settings, where it is difficult to transport the patient to a clinician.
(above information gathered from the Department of Veterans Affairs: National Center for PTSD. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/txessentials/telemental_health.asp, March 26, 2020)
Has Telemental Health shown effectiveness with various mental health conditions?
- The effectiveness of face-to-face therapy for depression was compared to online therapy. Online therapy was composed of online therapist mediated CBT assignments, and text-based consultation with a therapist. Refer to complete study for results.
- Internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive-behavioral intervention for depression: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial. (PDF, 389KB)
Depression, anxiety and stress
- The effectiveness of a CBT self-help program, where therapists provided feedback over text, was assessed. Refer to complete study for results.
- Mobile mental health: Review of the emerging field and proof of concept study.
- The effectiveness of face-to-face therapy to a guided online CBT program (composed of techniques such as cognitive restructuring and exposure therapy) was assessed. Written feedback was given by therapists on program assignments, and further therapist consultation for the online program was over texting platforms. Refer to complete study for results.
- Internet-versus group-administered cognitive behavior therapy for panic disorder in a psychiatric setting: A randomized trial.
- Texting therapy for addressing symptoms of schizophrenia and enhancing patient medication adherence to schizophrenia pharmacotherapy was studied. Refer to complete study for results.
- Mobile Assessment and Treatment for Schizophrenia (MATS): A pilot trial of an interactive text-messaging intervention for medication adherence, socialization, and auditory hallucinations.
- A comparison of telephone and texting interventions for persons with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
- Nurse management of diabetes patients via text messaging was assessed. Nurses utilized text messaging to manage the behavioral health of patients through promoting correct administration of diabetes treatment. Refer to complete study for results.
- A nurse short message service by cellular phone in Type-2 diabetic patients for six months.
Health promotion for weight loss
- Email-based therapy’s effectiveness in promoting behavior change for weight loss was assessed. Email was conducted solely via mobile phones. Refer to complete study for results.
- Development and effects of a health promotion program utilizing the mail function of mobile phones.
- Text therapy promoting behavior change in order to decrease smoking was studied in both papers below. Refer to complete study for results.
- Do u smoke after txt? Results of a randomized trial of smoking cessation using mobile phone text messaging.
- Smoking cessation support delivered via mobile phone text messaging (txt2stop): A single-blind, randomized trial.
Antiretroviral medication adherence
- Text messaging for ensuring medication adherence was assessed for patients suffering from HIV/Aids in rural Kenya. Refer to complete study for results.
- Mobile phone technologies improve adherence to antiretroviral treatment in a resource-limited setting: A randomized controlled trial of text message reminders.