PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review summarizes digital health solutions being used for Indigenous mental well-being, with emphasis on available evidence and examples reported in the literature. We also describe our own local experience with a rural telemental health service for Indigenous youth and discuss the unique opportunities and challenges.
RECENT FINDINGS: Digital health solutions can be grouped into three main categories: (1) remote access to specialists, (2) building and supporting local capacity, and (3) patient-directed interventions. Limited evidence exists for the majority of digital solutions specifically in Indigenous contexts, although examples and pilot projects have been described. Telemental health has the strongest evidence, along with a growing evidence for web-based applications, largely led by Australia. Other digital approaches remain areas of promise requiring additional study. Co-design and service integration and respect for Indigenous history and ideologies are essential for success. While the use of digital health solutions for Indigenous mental well-being holds promise, there is a limited evidence base for most of them. Future efforts to expand the use of digital solutions in this population should adhere to best practices for the delivery of Indigenous health services.
Hensel JM, Ellard K, Koltek M, Wilson G, Sareen J. Digital Health Solutions for Indigenous Mental Well-Being. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2019 Jul 1;21(8):68. doi: 10.1007/s11920-019-1056-6. PMID: 31263971; PMCID: PMC6602981.