ATA Issues New Practice Guidelines for Online Mental Health Services

ATA Issues New Practice Guidelines for Online Mental Health ServicesThis week, The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) published a new set of practice guidelines relating to the increasingly important issue on online mental health services.

One in five Americans experienced some sort of mental illness in 2010, a report last year from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed.

What’s more, nearly 5 percent of Americans have suffered from such severe mental illness that it interfered with day-to-day school, work or family.

Consequently, more and more Americans are being advised to turn to Internet resources for answers and guidance.

This has prompted the ATA to outline the best practices for the delivery of online mental health services.

“Practice Guidelines For Video-Based Online Mental Health Services” is designed to help practitioners provide safe, effective care when treating patients through personal computer webcams and mobile devices with interactive camera functionality. This guideline document, like all ATA standards documents, is available for free on the ATA website.

“The use of consumer-grade video conferencing technologies will augment the reach of mental health professionals and provide patients with a new, safe and convenient option for behavioral health treatment,” explains Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association. “ATA’s new guidelines are an important quality assurance tool for this emerging practice.”

The ATA says the new guidelines are a consensus document, based on the latest clinical and empirical research and experience in the field.

These and all All ATA practice guidelines are available free of charge and can be downloaded on the ATA website at this link.

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