e-Mental health - A guide for GPs

Topics to cover when recommending e-mental health
☰ Table of contents

It is good practice for GPs to consider the following points when recommending an e-mental health intervention to patients:29

  • Provide information about the benefits and limitations of e-mental health interventions and their alternatives to help patients make informed choices about whether this option is right for them.
  • Alert the patient to possible costs (eg service fees associated with human-supported interventions and internet data charges).
  • Advise the patient to carefully read the terms and conditions of service before agreeing to proceed with the use of the intervention.
  • Explain the extent to which you will be involved in the delivery of treatment and the support you will provide during use of the intervention.
  • Establish clear timeframes for follow-up and schedule an appointment for review (eg two weeks after the initial consultation).
  • Inform patients of what they should do if they want an alternative treatment, if their symptoms appear to be worsening, or if they are experiencing a crisis and require immediate assistance.
  • For programs in which you have signed up as the patient’s referring clinician, you may be sent alerts when the patient completes an in-program assessment or appears to have discontinued treatment. This feature is only available in certain interventions and will be explained to you and your patient upon sign-up. You should notify your patients about how you will handle any information you receive as part of this process (eg include it in their file) and how you will respond (eg call them to arrange a follow-up appointment).
  1. Dever Fitzgerald T, Hunter PV, Hadjistavropoulos T, Koocher GP. Ethical and legal considerations for internet-based psychotherapy. Cogn Behav Ther 2010;39(3):173–87.