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Virtual Care for Mental Health

Virtual mental health care has seen a significant increase since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and has proven effective in supporting patients with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, there is limited research on virtual care in comparison to in-person treatment or for severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is important to acknowledge that virtual care may not be a suitable replacement for all patients or conditions.


Certain marginalized communities such as Black, rural, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities may face additional challenges in accessing virtual mental health care due to a lack of infrastructure, digital literacy, and cultural relevance. It is essential to involve communities in the development of virtual care services and ensure culturally-relevant care is delivered. Data literacy and social determinants of health must also be considered.


To provide culturally competent virtual mental health care, it is crucial to engage patients, families, and healthcare professionals through training, guidance, and support. A unified quality standard will aid in the selection and delivery of virtual mental health care. Investment in the expansion of infrastructure is also necessary, such as digital literacy support and access to high-speed internet. By considering the diverse needs and values of communities, we can provide effective virtual mental health care for all.


References:


Lo, B., Strudwick, G., Mah, L., Mushquash, C. J., McKenzie, K., Khenti, A., Crawford, A., Bhattacharya, O., Allen, U., Bodmer, N. S., Born, K. B., Perkhun, A., Razak, F. A., & O'Neill, B. (2022). Effective modalities of virtual care to deliver mental health and Addictions Services in Canada. https://doi.org/10.47326/ocsat.2022.03.66.1.0



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