Upscaling e-mental health in Europe: a six-country qualitative analysis and policy recommendations from the eMEN project

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2021 Sep;271(6):1005-1016. doi: 10.1007/s00406-020-01133-y. Epub 2020 May 11.


E-mental health (eMH) encompasses the use of digital technologies to deliver, support, or enhance mental health services. Despite the growing evidence for the effectiveness of eMH interventions, the process of implementation of eMH solutions in healthcare remains slow throughout Europe. To address this issue, the e-Mental Health Innovation and Transnational Implementation Platform North-West Europe (eMEN) project was initiated to increase the dissemination and quality of eMH services in Europe. In this project, status analyses regarding eMH in the six participating countries (i.e., Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, and the UK) were conducted and eight recommendations for eMH were developed. Expert teams from the six participating countries conducted status analyses regarding the uptake of eMH based on a narrative literature review and stakeholder interviews. Based on these status analyses, the eMEN consortium developed eight policy recommendations to further support the implementation of eMH in Europe. The status analyses showed that the participating countries are in different stages of implementing eMH into mental healthcare. Some barriers to implementing eMH were common among countries (e.g., a limited legal and regulatory framework), while others were country-specific (e.g., fragmented, federal policies). The policy recommendations included fostering awareness, creating strong political commitment, and setting reliable standards related to ethics and data security. The eMEN project has provided the initial recommendations to guide political and regulatory processes regarding eMH. Further research is needed to establish well-tailored implementation strategies and to assess the generalizability of the recommendations beyond the countries involved in the eMEN project.

Keywords: Implementation; Mental health; Policy; Upscaling; e-Mental health; eMH.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Mental Health Services* / organization & administration
  • Qualitative Research
  • Telemedicine* / organization & administration