The use of handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets is primarily involved in many aspects of our life, leading to a global eruption in mobile devices usage and ownership.
It is because of their capability of connecting to the internet and their apps providing us the functionalities with touchscreen accessibility, giving us portability and convenience (Salehan & Nagahban, 2013). It has been reported that the ownership of these smart handheld devices, especially smartphones, will keep on increasing with time due to their penetration in less privileged countries also. As stats say, if we talk about Australia predominantly, approximately more than 80% own a smartphone. While concerning the usage, it has been specified that almost 33 hours are spent using mobile apps by users. According to stats and with the improvements in the internet connection stability, this highlights that the use of technology through these handheld gadgets and its importance is crucial to be realized and noted (Hardell, Carlberg, & Hansson Mild, 2013).
In this context, the e-mental health is related to mental health services and information delivered or enhanced through the use of the internet and associated technologies such as using mobile apps and online web-based programs to target problems related to mental health. Mental health has been remained a substantial area to focus while concentrating on the digitalization of healthcare due to its potential problems (Phillips, Gordeev, & Schreyögg, 2019).
The inclusion of the e-mental health with its services using the smartphones, primarily due to its prominent factor of portability, has helped the individuals to monitor, assess and pursue treatment of a physical and mental health-related problem (Lal & Adair, 2014). Thus, leading to this, in smartphones, "Health apps" are one of the most-used apps, with approximately 60% of smartphone users downloaded them at least one in their smartphone usage. Because of the reason that these apps can do as little as to remind us to take medication, e.g., "Pill Alert Pro" or assisting us to monitor sort of complex diagnosis such as blood glucose levels of diabetic patients (Christenson & Petrie, 2013). While based on a data and information collected, i.e., either maintaining a record of your calls and calculating the time you spend on screen, contributing to provide the suggestions on incorporating the necessary activities or steps to be taken to address a specific condition or illness and incredibly helpful in dealing with anxiety and depression, the dominating mental health issues.
Furthermore, the e- mental health has also supported the people that have limited access to healthcare services and are not able to get treated due to some barriers, either social or cultural, the problem of having limited resources and living in underrated areas where experts are not readily available for a face-to-face diagnosis. Thus, the incorporation of e-mental health over the existed nursing practices has enabled addressing these issues that almost looked impossible to be captured due to the facts about the socio-economic backgrounds or having low mental health education that bounds them from getting help (Casey, Joy & Clough, 2013). For example, the lack of similar ethnicity is uniquely addressed by this technological advancement as minorities reported for being maltreated as they are underrepresented in the medical profession. At the same time, the people from specific ethnic groups prefer to get treated by a therapist of the same ethnicity as theirs. Another example signifies the solution to the people belonging to a particular culture; for instance, Korean cultural norms restrict people to confront personal emotions rather than suppress them. So, e-mental health, as compared to the existing nursing practices, allows them to use the services provided by e-mental health, mitigating the dangers of being opened up or exposed associated with their cultural mentality. Hence, the potential to address such issues has only been seen with the implementation of e-mental health.
Therefore, the improvement of existing nursing practices with the continuous developments in e-mental health has introduced us with the concept of the personally controlled electronic health record.
But still, certain things need to be captured. As concerning the medical professionals on using the services of e-mental health, specific concerns are imparting barriers towards their proper implementation. Majorly, these barriers are the lack of time to spend on understanding the online- tools used in the e-mental health, fears of privacy as the nature of information is sensitive, the security of data, the feedback of clients, and the insufficient training or guidance on incorporating the digital tools in the academic programs, especially for those that are going to be a psychiatrist.
Whereas, some barriers are also hindering people from using the services of e-mental health. Mainly, lack of interest in using the apps, like many individuals, chiefly with mental health disorders, are more sensitive towards the privacy of their sensitive information to be misused. In addition to this, people find it difficult and get offended about consuming much time in filling the data regularly (Cavanagh & Millings, 2013).
This leads to e-mental health to intensely work on the privacy of the data and involving the authenticated medical professionals to work on its efficiency as rigorously reported to have been providing less efficient information that is not well researched, preferably using the generalized information.
Consequently, to regulate the use of e-mental health resources, the government must define the processes and guidelines towards the usage of e-mental health resources in a way that medical professionals are assured towards the concerning barriers, and they ultimately suggest the patients while treating a disease (Christensen & Petrie, 2013). While before marketing them, the government must evaluate their working with assessing and handling the harms and potential risks, ensuring the efficiency and correctness up to a mark, ease of use, and data sharing ability with the professionals when necessary. With this and the medical professionals' input and enjoining the facilitation of continuous research, e-mental health will have more to offer to the contemporary nursing thoughts and practices. However, it still appears as a most acceptable technological advancement to be incorporated in addressing the most crucial stereotypes regarding mental health.
Casey, L. M., Joy, A., & Clough, B. A. (2013). the Impact of Information on Attitudes Toward E-Mental Health Services. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(8), 593–598. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2012.0515
Cavanagh, K., & Millings, A. (2013). (Inter)personal Computing: The Role of the Therapeutic Relationship in E-mental Health. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 43(4), 197–206. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-013-9242-z
Christensen, H., & Petrie, K. (2013). State of the e-mental health field in Australia: Where are we now? Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 47(2), 117–120. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867412471439
Hardell, L., Carlberg, M., & Hansson Mild, K. (2013). Use of mobile phones and cordless phones is associated with increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma. Pathophysiology, 20(2), 85–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pathophys.2012.11.001
Lal, S., & Adair, C. E. (2014). E-Mental Health: A Rapid Review of the Literature. Psychiatric Services, 65(1), 24–32. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201300009
Phillips, E. A., Gordeev, V. S., & Schreyögg, J. (2019). Effectiveness of occupational e-mental health interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 45(6), 560–576. https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3839
Salehan, M., & Negahban, A. (2013). Social networking on smartphones: When mobile phones become addictive. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(6), 2632–2639. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.07.003
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