Developing a roadmap for the translation of e-mental health services for depression

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2015 Sep;49(9):776-84. doi: 10.1177/0004867415582054. Epub 2015 Apr 23.


Objective: e-Mental health services have been shown to be effective and cost-effective for the treatment of depression. However, to have optimal impact in reducing the burden of depression, strategies for wider reach and uptake are needed.

Method: A review was conducted to assess the evidence supporting use of e-mental health programmes for treating depression. From the review, models of dissemination and gaps in translation were identified, with a specific focus on characterising barriers and facilitators to uptake within the Australian healthcare context. Finally, recommendations for promoting the translation of e-mental health services in Australia were developed.

Results: There are a number of effective and cost-effective e-health applications available for treating depression in community and clinical settings. Four primary models of dissemination were identified: unguided, health service-supported, private ownership and clinically guided. Barriers to translation include clinician reluctance, consumer awareness, structural barriers such as funding and gaps in the translational evidence base.

Conclusion: Key strategies for increasing use of e-mental health programmes include endorsement of e-mental health services by government entities, education for clinicians and consumers, adequate funding of e-mental health services, development of an accreditation system, development of translation-focused activities and support for further translational research. The impact of these implementation strategies is likely to include economic gains, reductions in disease burden and greater availability of more interventions for prevention and treatment of mental ill-health complementary to existing health and efficient evidence-based mental health services.

Keywords: Internet; depression; e-mental health programmes; mental health services; research translation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Translational Medical Research