Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe the evolution of the E-Child and Youth Mental Health Service (E-CYMHS), which supports regional and rural mental health services by providing access to consultant child and adolescent psychiatrists to isolated staff in regional areas, where access to specialist psychiatric services is limited.
Conclusions: E-CYMHS provides a level of parity in mental health care between metropolitan, regional and remote services through the provision of regular videoconferencing services with child and adolescent psychiatrists and senior allied health clinicians. The three key features which underpin the success of the service are: 1. A central co-ordinator of services; 2. Provision of support outside regular videoconference times; and 3. Routine outreach visits that foster community capacity-building. E-CYMHS has been well received by the regional mental health services it supports, and the total provision of services has more than doubled over the last three years. It is anticipated that as telepsychiatry is increasingly viewed as a credible alternative to traditional means of patient care, this trend is likely to continue.