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Title: Online consultations in mental healthcare during the COVID-19 outbreak: An international survey study on professionals' motivations and perceived barriers
Authors: De Witte, Nele A.J. 
Carlbring, Per 
Etzelmueller, Anne 
Nordgreen, Tine 
Karekla, Maria 
Haddouk, Lise 
Belmont, Angélique 
Øverland, Svein 
Abi-Habib, Rudy 
Bernaerts, Sylvie 
Brugnera, Agostino 
Compare, Angelo 
Duque, Aranzazu 
Ebert, David Daniel 
Eimontas, Jonas 
Kassianos, Angelos P. 
Salgado, João 
Schwerdtfeger, Andreas 
Tohme, Pia 
Van Assche, Eva 
Van Daele, Tom 
Major Field of Science: Medical and Health Sciences
Field Category: Health Sciences
Keywords: e-Mental health;Implementation;Telepsychology;Digital interventions;COVID-19;Online consultations
Issue Date: Sep-2021
Source: Internet Interventions, 2021, vol. 25, articl. no. 100405
Volume: 25
Journal: Internet Interventions 
Abstract: Introduction: While the general uptake of e-mental health interventions remained low over the past years, physical distancing and lockdown measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic created a need and demand for online consultations in only a matter of weeks. Objective: This study investigates the uptake of online consultations provided by mental health professionals during lockdown measures in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the participating countries, with a specific focus on professionals' motivations and perceived barriers regarding online consultations. Methods: An online survey on the use of online consultations was set up in March 2020. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) guided the deductive qualitative analysis of the results. Results: In total, 2082 mental health professionals from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden were included. The results showed a high uptake of online consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic but limited previous training on this topic undergone by mental health professionals. Most professionals reported positive experiences with online consultations, but concerns about the performance of online consultations in a mental health context (e.g., in terms of relational aspects) and practical considerations (e.g., relating to privacy and security of software) appear to be major barriers that hinder implementation. Conclusions: This study provides an overview of the mental health professionals' actual needs and concerns regarding the use of online consultations in order to highlight areas of possible intervention and allow the implementation of necessary governmental, educational, and instrumental support so that online consultations can become a feasible and stable option in mental healthcare.
ISSN: 2214-7829
DOI: 10.1016/j.invent.2021.100405
Rights: © The Authors.
Type: Article
Affiliation : Thomas More University of Applied Sciences 
Stockholm University 
GET.ON Institute/HelloBetter 
VU University Amsterdam 
Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg 
University of Bergen 
University of Cyprus 
Rouen University 
Cliniciens Francophones et Germanophones 
Lebanese American University 
University of Bergamo 
Universidad Internacional de Valencia 
Valencian International University 
Vilnius University 
University College London 
University Institute of Maia 
University of Porto 
University of Graz 
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