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Opportunities for and Tensions Surrounding the Use of Technology-Enabled Mental Health Services in Community Mental Health Care


Technology-enabled mental health services have the potential to expand the reach of care and reduce clinician demand. While the efficacy of technology-enabled mental health services is well established, there have been few successful implementations of such services into community care settings. Using mixed methods, 89 clinicians and supervisors at a mental health service organization shared attitudes toward and interest in using a variety of technologies in their work. Participants discussed several challenges and opportunities for technology-enabled mental health services. Whilst clinicians saw potential for technology to engage individuals both in and outside the clinical environment, the range of therapeutic techniques used by clinicians presented a challenge in implementing a tool to meet their needs. Client technology access was a concern, and although text messaging would facilitate communication, current HIPAA and payment structures restrict this ability. With these considerations, we offer recommendations for implementing technological services in community mental health organizations.

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Funding were provided by National Institute of Mental Health (Grant No. K08 MH112878) and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Grant No. UL1TR001422).

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Correspondence to Emily G. Lattie.

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Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest: David C. Mohr has accepted honoraria from Apple Inc. and has an ownership interest in Actualize Therapy, which has a license from Northwestern University for IntelliCare. Emily G. Lattie has received consulting fees from Actualize Therapy, LLC. Joshua J. Skerl is employed by OhioGuidestone.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of Northwestern University’s IRB and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Lattie, E.G., Nicholas, J., Knapp, A.A. et al. Opportunities for and Tensions Surrounding the Use of Technology-Enabled Mental Health Services in Community Mental Health Care. Adm Policy Ment Health 47, 138–149 (2020).

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  • mHealth
  • eHealth
  • Community mental health
  • Evidence-based treatments