The role of technology in mental healthcare

Policy Briefing

Published 28/04/2022

The role of technology in mental healthcare Page 1

Our briefing note explores the ethical and social issues arising from the use of technology in mental healthcare.

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Overview

  • Emerging technologies have the potential to provide flexible and tailored mental health support, lower barriers to accessing mental healthcare, and offer insights into the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and populations.
  • Mental health technologies raise ethical concerns relating to reductions in face-to-face contact, the effectiveness, quality, and safety of care, exacerbation of health inequalities, and data privacy and security.
  • Healthcare providers and developers should take into consideration that:
    • Many people affected by mental health problems do not have access to or are reluctant to use mental healthcare technologies. If these are to become widely adopted in the future, there should be choice about using them.
    • Technology solutions should not divert resources from other important forms of mental healthcare and support and should be used as an addition to what is already available, rather than a replacement.
    • Evidence is needed on which technologies are safe and evidence based, and which are not.
  • Challenges ahead include improving the evidence base for mental health technologies, ensuring appropriate regulatory frameworks to help users, healthcare professionals, and developers navigate the market, and involving potential users, their families, and care professionals in the development and regulation of technology.

Read the briefing note.

'Experts by experience' workshops with Rethink Mental Illness

We commissioned Rethink Mental Illness to run engagement sessions with people with lived experience of mental health problems, using their insights and knowledge to help draw out and develop the important themes for our briefing note. Rethink Mental Illness provide expert information and services, and campaign to improve the lives of people severely affected by mental illness and their family, friends, and carers.

Rethink have published a summary paper highlighting the findings of their engagement sessions - Engaging experts by experience about the role of digital technology in the future of mental health (PDF). Also available in .doc.

Project team

Claudia Corradi

Claudia Corradi

Research Officer

Claudia undertakes research to support the Council’s work. She also monitors developments in different areas of interest to the Council. Before joining the Council, she has been a research assistant in the field of cognitive neuroscience and completed a BA in Philosophy and an MSc in Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience.

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