Background: Although home-based telemental health options have the potential to greatly expand the range of services available to U.S. military service members, there remains a need to demonstrate that home-based care is technically feasible, safe, and effective and meets the military health system's standards of care before widespread implementation can be achieved. The purpose of this preliminary study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of providing U.S. military service members with a behavioral health treatment delivered directly to the home using videoconferencing.
Materials and methods: Ten previously deployed soldiers volunteered to complete eight sessions of a novel behavioral activation treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. The primary clinical outcomes assessed included symptoms of posttraumatic stress and depression. Patient safety data and attitudes about seeking mental health services, treatment satisfaction, treatment adherence, and treatment compliance were also assessed.
Results: Clinically significant reductions in posttraumatic stress symptom severity and depression symptoms were observed. Soldiers indicated high levels of satisfaction with the treatment, and there were no adverse events requiring activation of emergency safety procedures. Technical problems associated with the network were observed but successfully mitigated.
Conclusions: The results provide initial support for the feasibility and safety of telemental health treatments delivered by videoconferencing to the homes of soldiers. The optimal technical infrastructure needs to be determined to support expansion of synchronous videoconferencing capabilities to the home. The findings provide preliminary evidence of the feasibility, safety, and high user satisfaction with home-based telemental health in the military setting.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01599585.
Keywords: behavioral activation; home-based; military; posttraumatic stress disorder; telemental health.