Internet- and mobile-based psychological interventions: applications, efficacy, and potential for improving mental health.
Authors: Ebert, D.D., Taylor, J. et al.
Journal: European Psychologist
Publisher: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers
The majority of mental health disorders remain untreated. Many limitations of traditional psychological interventions such as limited availability of evidence-based interventions and clinicians could potentially be overcome by providing Internet- and mobile-based psychological interventions (IMIs). This paper is a report of the Taskforce E-Health of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Association and will provide an introduction to the subject, discusses areas of application, and reviews the current evidence regarding the efficacy of IMIs for the prevention and treatment of mental disorders. Meta-analyses based on randomized trials clearly indicate that therapist-guided stand-alone IMIs can result in meaningful benefits for a range of indications including, for example, depression, anxiety, insomnia, or posttraumatic stress disorders. The clinical significance of results of purely self-guided interventions is for many disorders less clear, especially with regard to effects under routine care conditions. Studies on the prevention of mental health disorders (MHD) are promising. Blended concepts, combining traditional face-to-face approaches with Internet- and mobile-based elements might have the potential of increasing the effects of psychological interventions on the one hand or to reduce costs of mental health treatments on the other hand. We also discuss mechanisms of change and the role of the therapist in such approaches, contraindications, potential limitations, and risk involved with IMIs, briefly review the status of the implementation into routine health care across Europe, and discuss confidentiality as well as ethical aspects that need to be taken into account, when implementing IMIs. Internet- and mobile-based psychological interventions have high potential for improving mental health and should be implemented more widely in routine care.