The Impact of Information on Attitudes Toward E-Mental Health Services
E-mental health services are Internet-based treatment options for mental illness. There has been a proliferation of these services in recent years, with online programs now available for the treatment of mood, anxiety, eating, adjustment, and substance use disorders.1 E-mental health services allow for greater dissemination of psychological treatments, are cost effective, and may overcome a number of client barriers to care.1 However, the limited research available indicates that attitudes about e-mental health services are less than optimal. Past research has found that providing information about services can improve attitudes. This study investigated the relationship between knowledge of e-mental health services and attitudes toward e-mental health services. The attitudes examined were the perceived helpfulness of e-mental health services and the likelihood of using the services. Participants (N=217) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: provision of e-mental health information by means of film; provision of e-mental health information by text; or provision of no e-mental health information. Results indicated that participants perceived online programs without therapist assistance as being significantly less helpful, and reported reduced likelihood of engaging in these programs when compared to other e-mental health services. Participants in the text intervention group reported higher likelihood of e-mental health use in the future, whereas there were no effects for the film group. Results indicate that participants perceive important differences between types of e-mental health services, and that a brief text intervention can improve attitudes toward these services. Limitations of the present study and directions for future research are discussed.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology