Why eMental Health? - Mental Health Reform

What is eMental Health?

eMental Health involves the use of technology to improve mental health and wellbeing. It can be used independently by an individual or be prescribed or signposted by a professional. eMental Health can be an integral part of mental health care and support; this is called ‘blended care’.
eMEN will be showcasing the full range of technologies used in e-mental health at 24 transnational events across partner countries and on the project website. These technologies include: apps, virtual reality, wearable devices, online treatment modules and virtual real-time therapy.

Why use eMental Health apps in Ireland?

Mental health is a common and growing economic, social and health challenge across Ireland. Demand for mental health care outpaces provision. Increasingly, attention is focused on preventing mental health problems from developing and escalating, and empowering people to self-manage their mental health.
The ambition of eMEN is that we will increase the uptake of eMental Health, reduce the levels of unmet need and empower users to be actively involved in managing their mental wellbeing.

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Having accessible, timely and quality-assured support can be hard for people who are managing mental health difficulties at different stages of their life: while continuing their education, holding down a job, or parenting their family. People living in rural areas experience specific barriers to receiving the right support at the right time.
Innovative and high quality eMental Health products and services can substantially contribute to ensuring that services are available, accessible, appropriate and affordable for all. eMental Health presents significant business opportunities particularly for SMEs.

Benefits of eMental Health

The benefits of using such apps in a blended service of therapist and app typically include:

  1. Dramatic improvement in access to the service: Apps are typically available on all current online devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones. Once instructed in their use, service users have access to the apps 24/7.
  2. Dramatic improvement in consistency, quality and range of service offerings: Apps can be customised for a particular user so that the supports are tailored to their preferences and needs. Apps can encourage regular use and entry of important information that can be shared with the therapist. Apps can put in the user’s hands a range of supports including online access to the designated therapist, peer supports, reminders, alerts, social media features and many other useful mechanisms to support the individual’s recovery. Apps can also be continually updated to add further features and tailored supports based on Service User feedback.
  3. Dramatic reduction in service provision costs: Through the use of App technology, the caseload of a typical therapist can grow 10-fold, in that once a Service User has been assessed and given guidance on the use of the app, the need for follow up face-to-face sessions can be greatly reduced while ongoing support can be provided more efficiently through regular online check-ins. While maintaining a valuable role for the therapist, each professional can support a larger number of clients.
  4. Dramatic shift towards empowering the Service User: to engage in self-care and be in control of their own recovery.