Technology and Equitable Access for Mental Healthcare in a post-COVID Asia Pacific (TEAM-CAP)
University of British Columbia
Dr. Raymond Lam , Dr. Jill Murphy , Dr. Erin Michalak
The TEAM-CAP study is a mixed-methods study with a modified Delphi consensus process consisting of 1) online consultations with key stakeholder groups; 2) Online mixed methods survey and 3) Online consultation to present preliminary results and recommendations to key stakeholders (forthcoming). Consultations took place in November 2020 and the online survey took place in April 2021.
The study sample included populations in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region (i.e., 21 countries including Canada) that are at elevated risk of experiencing negative mental health impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic and which might experience elevated barriers to care access (n=2469); and 23 consultations with policy makers, care providers and people with lived experience from across the region.
The study aimed to determine (1) Which populations in the region are most at risk of experiencing negative mental health and psychosocial impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic? (2) What factors contribute to this elevated risk? (3) What are the barriers among these populations to accessing mental health and psychosocial support, with a specific focus on virtual (e- and telehealth) care? And (4) What opportunities exist to improve the equitable delivery of virtual care among at-risk and equity-seeking populations in the APEC region?
The mental health and wellbeing of populations who experience vulnerabilities prior to the pandemic has worsened during the pandemic including do to the direct impact of the virus on at-risk populations (eg. seniors, healthcare workers) and due to pandemic-related restrictions that impact social support, delivery of healthcare and social services, economic stability, etc. The impact of factors such as racism and discrimination is also evident and contributes to poor mental health and psychosocial well-being. Though digital health technologies can promote accessibility of care during the pandemic, many barriers exist for at-risk and equity-seeking populations. Barriers include access to devices and Internet connectivity, low digital literacy, lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate options, privacy and safety concerns when accessing care from home, and preferences for in-person care. In some cases digital care may not be appropriate or effective, including among seniors with dementia, for people with existing mental health disorders such as eating disorders and some people with cognitive disabilities. Overall and unsurprisingly ‘one size fits all’ approaches to digital care are insufficient.
Contact Information for Updates:
Dr. Jill Murphy: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Develop evidence-based policy and practice guidelines for digital mental healthcare and make digital programs and services more accessible and equitable.
- Invest in mental health care accessibility, specifically reducing barriers for equity-deserving groups
- Invest in training and infrastructure support for mental health providers
Murphy, J. K., Khan, A., Sun, Q., Minas, H., Hatcher, S., Ng, C. H., Withers, M., Greenshaw, A., Michalak, E. E., Chakraborty, P. A., Sandanasamy, K. S., Ibrahim, N., Ravindran, A., Chen, J., Nguyen, V. C., & Lam, R. W. (2021). Needs, gaps and opportunities for standard and e-mental health care among at-risk populations in the Asia Pacific in the context of COVID-19: a rapid scoping review. International Journal for Equity in Health, 20(1), 161–161. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-021-01484-5Read it
Harnessing digital mental health to improve equity in mental health care in the context of COVID-19: needs, best-practices and opportunities in the Asia Pacific RegionRead it