Several RESPOND consortium members, with Anke Witteveen from VU Amsterdam as lead author, recently published an article on the delivery of remote mental healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article provides further details and updates on one of the topics addressed in the WHO scientific brief on mental health and COVID-19. An umbrella review (systematic review of systematic reviews) methodology was followed.
The main findings are that during the COVID-19 pandemic in-person outpatient appointments were severely disrupted and mental health services switched mostly to remote synchronous tools, such as videoconferencing, and to a lesser extent to asynchronous tools such as apps. Important barriers to delivery were insufficient integration of the remote technology, lack of technological literacy, and worries about the therapeutic relationship. However, the flexibility in scheduling facilitated continuity of care. More training of professionals is needed, as well as further research using more robust methodology.
Witteveen, A. B., Young, S., Cuijpers, P., Ayuso-Mateos, J. L., Barbui, C., Bertolini, F., Cabello, M., Cadorin, C., Downes, N., Franzoi, D., Gasior, M., John, A., Melchior, M., McDaid, D., Palantza, C., Purgato, M., Van der Waerden, J., Wang, S., Sijbrandij, M. (2022). Remote mental health care interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic: An umbrella review. Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 159, 2022, 104226, ISSN 0005-7967, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2022.104226.