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Social work and tele-mental health services for rural and remote communities

Social work and tele-mental health services for rural and remote communities

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Rural and remote communities often have complex and diverse mental health needs and inadequate mental health services and infrastructure. Information and communication technologies provide an array of means for connecting rural and remote communities to specialist mental health practitioners as used in psychiatry and psychology. Social work practitioners have additional skills to bring to tele-mental health and in particular, the socio-cultural dimensions that impact on mental health and therefore the ability to recognize and explore these with participants, as well as, refer participant to resources and services outside of or in addition to psychology or medical fields. However, despite this potential, a review of international literature reveals that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have not attained widespread uptake in social work practice in rural communities. This chapter reviews the social work literature on ICTs, the tele-psychology and psychiatry literature and provides suggestions on how to enhance engagement with ICT by social workers to implement and provide social work services tailored to rural and remote community needs, values and preferences.

Chapter Contents:

  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Rural heterogeneity and complexity challenge mental health service provision
  • 7.3 Bridging the rural/urban divide using ICT for mental health service provision
  • 7.4 An ambivalent engagement: social work and ICT
  • 7.5 Sustainable engagement with ICT to meet rural community mental health needs
  • 7.6 Conclusion
  • References

Inspec keywords: psychology; medical information systems; social sciences computing; public administration; socio-economic effects; health care; Internet; medical computing; telemedicine

Other keywords: tele-mental health services; social work practitioners; specialist mental health practitioners; inadequate mental health services; communication technologies; social work literature; rural communities; tele-psychology; socio-cultural dimensions that impact; social work services; remote community; mental health needs; social workers; social work practice

Subjects: Computing education and training; Information networks; Biology and medical computing; Social and political issues; Medical administration; Biomedical communication; Ergonomic aspects of computing; Computer-aided instruction; Social and behavioural sciences computing

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