e-Mental health - A guide for GPs

Selecting a practice model
☰ Table of contents

There are various ways in which GPs might integrate e-mental health into their day-to-day practice. You can choose to use these services in a way that suits your skills, interests and working environment.32

A group of Australian researchers has proposed a framework for using e-mental health services in the primary care setting.17 Five models are outlined in Table 1, each requiring a different level of engagement and knowledge on the part of the GP.

The first three approaches involve recommending e-mental health to patients. This may simply involve providing information about e-mental health resources (the ‘promotion’ model), or suggesting a particular intervention and providing some level of support to the patient while they are receiving the intervention (the ‘case management’ and ‘coaching’ models).

GPs who are already delivering focused psychological strategies or other brief psychological interventions might use either the ‘symptom-focused’ or ‘comprehensive therapy’ model. These models are informed by an integrative approach in which the practice of therapy is informed by a range of different theories and techniques.44 Under these models, GPs would use e-mental health tools and resources to supplement their delivery of face-to-face therapy.

Table 1. A framework for the use of e-mental health in the primary care setting17

Promotion model

Case management model

Coaching model

Symptom-focused model

Comprehensive therapy model

Providing information about high-quality e-mental health resources as required

Recommending an e-mental health intervention to the patient and following up as required

Supporting the patient to complete an e-mental health intervention

Using e-mental health resources to enhance or extend a discrete program of face-to-face therapy

Using e-mental health resources as one part of a comprehensive therapeutic intervention

Case study: Corey

Case study: Judy

Case study: Bill

Case study: Kate

Case study: Tom

 Level of engagement and knowledge

  1.  Reynolds J, Griffiths KM, Cunningham JA, Bennett K, Bennett A. Clinical practice models for the use of e-mental health resources in primary health care by health professionals and peer workers: a conceptual framework. JMIR Mental Health 2015;2(1):e6.
  2. Reynolds J, Griffiths K, Christensen H. Anxiety and depression – online resources and management tools. Aust Fam Physician 2011;40(6):382–86.
  3. Corey G. Theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy. 9th ed. Belmont: Brooks/Cole, 2013.