e-Mental health - A guide for GPs

Exploring the world of e-mental health

Last revised: 03 Sep 2018

Steps to understanding the landscape

In order to explore the potential for e-mental health in your practice, you will first need an understanding of the landscape.

Step 1. Finding your bearings

In order to explore the potential for e-mental health in your practice, you will first need an understanding of the landscape.

e-Mental Health In Practice (eMHPrac) project
 

Funded by the Australian Government, the e-Mental Health In Practice (eMHPrac) project aims to educate health practitioners about the availability and utility of e-mental health tools and services.

Black Dog institute

Under the eMHPrac project, training and support for GPs are led by Black Dog Institute.


Resources

The team behind eMHPrac have developed a number of introductory resources for GPs who are new to e-mental health, including GP fact sheets, videos and a printable directory of Australian interventions that can be used to match patients to programs.

e-Mental health services vary in their purpose, mode of delivery, intended audience, theoretical basis, style, duration, level of complexity, language options, level of security, cost, quality and efficacy.

One of the best ways to get to know an e-mental health intervention is to explore it for yourself. Registering with the service allows you to examine its content, format and features.

If you are unsure where to find an appropriate e-mental health intervention to use with your patients, there are two Australian information portals that can help you to narrow down the field of options.

Head to Health is an online portal to digital mental health care funded by the Federal Government. It provides reliable information about mental health and a range of mental health conditions. It also provides an interactive chatbot and a set of filters that allow users to find evidence-based online resources and treatment programs to meet their specific needs.

Practice tip

Open the Head to Health website on your desktop to show your patient how to use the search facilities on the site. You can also use the Head to Health site to save information about your own favourite programs to print out and give to your patients.

GPs who are interested in learning more about particular e-mental health interventions and related clinical practice issues have several high-quality resources at their disposal.

Black Dog Institute has developed a series of live eMHPrac webinars for GPs. Freely available as online recordings, these webinars aim to explore the use of e-mental health resources in the primary care setting. Topics include using e-mental health interventions for various mental illnesses and with specific populations, blending online therapy with face-to-face care, and online self-care for GPs.

Black Dog Institute has also created an accredited six-hour online education program for GPs which provides more detailed information about e-mental health interventions and their use in general practice. Each of the modules is accredited separately, but all six can be completed together as an active learning module.

gplearning has developed a mental health skills training program that includes a four-hour module, ‘Managing depression in general practice’. Four case studies are used to explore the presentation and management of depression in different patient groups. Relevant e-mental health resources are presented at appropriate points throughout each case study in order to show GPs how they can fit into the management plan for patients with depression. The program includes links to useful tools, videos and important websites. The tools and resources most applicable for the age group of the patient are explored in more detail throughout the case studies.

Practice tip

Register with the eMHPrac/Black Dog Institute Mental Health Community of Practice to share information and knowledge about e-mental health through multidisciplinary discussion forums.

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