e-Mental health - A guide for GPs

Self-help versus human-supported interventions
☰ Table of contents

The type of support you provide to your patient might also be related to whether you recommend a self-help intervention or a human-supported intervention.

Table 2. Types of e-mental health interventions and related access and support issues18, 19

Type of intervention


Support provided by the service

Support provided by the GP

Self-help intervention

Offered to the public through an open-access website (no clinician referral required)

Usually offered at no cost to the user

Automated feedback is provided through pop-up boxes, generic emails or SMS

Automated feedback might consist of:

  • reminders
  • corrective, confirmatory or diagnostic feedback
  • more prescriptive and elaborate responses, such as specific recommendations for change tailored to the individual

You will need to determine how to best support patients in the knowledge that the support provided by the service is minimal

Human-supported intervention

Usually offered to specific individuals through a password-protected website

Usually requires screening and registration

Occasionally requires referral from a clinician

Occasionally requires user payment

Feedback is provided by a health professional or another person as part of the program (occasionally in addition to automated feedback)

Human support might consist of:

  • reminders
  • technical support
  • moderation of in-program chatrooms/boards
  • one-to-one discussion and feedback

Feedback may be offered in real time or at a delay

You can take cues from the service to determine how best to support patients

Visit the service’s website to read more about the level of support they provide

Enquire about what you can do to support patients while they are receiving the intervention

  1. Barak A, Klein B, Proudfoot JG. Defining internet-supported therapeutic interventions. Ann Behav Med 2009;38(1):4–17.
  2. Batterham PJ, Sunderland M, Calear AL, et al. Developing a roadmap for the translation of e-mental health services for depression. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2015. PII:0004867415582054.