Child mental health professionals need more technology training

Last updated 1 June 2020

An astonishing proportion of children and adolescents have access to the internet and frequently use different types of technology in their day-to-day lives. It therefore seems that technology could be repurposed to reach out to this high-tech population and help break down the barriers to accessing child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). Despite the great potential technology-based tools offer in delivering and supporting mental health interventions, their uptake is slow.

Now, Bethany Cliffe and colleagues have surveyed 154 CAMHS professionals to understand why technology-based tools have not yet been widely adopted by CAMHS. While most professionals acknowledged that technology does have a rightful place in clinical practice, 60.8% did not know what technologies were available and 41.7% did not feel skilled enough in this area. Despite these deficits, most professionals (>80.0%) still perceived technology-based interventions as being helpful to those struggling with face-to-face interventions. They are also convenient and accessible. Importantly, while most professionals agreed that technology cannot account for a lack of trained therapists, >90.0% believed that these resources can help with prevention and psychoeducation. Overall concerns regarding training, safety, reliability and privacy were raised. These issues need to be addressed before more CAMHS professionals take the leap-of-faith and incorporate technology-based interventions into their clinical practice.

Referring to:

Cliffe, B, Croker, A., Denne, M. & Stallard, P. (2019), Clinicians’ use of and attitudes towards technology to provide and support interventions in child and adolescent mental health services. Child Adolesc. Ment. Health. doi: 10.111/camh.12362.

Bethany Cliffe summarises the paper in this video abstract

Dr Jessica Edwards
Jessica received her MA in Biological Sciences and her DPhil in Neurobehavioural Genetics from the University of Oxford (Magdalen College). After completing her post-doctoral research, she moved into scientific editing and publishing, first working for Spandidos Publications (London, UK) and then moving to Nature Publishing Group. Jessica is now a freelance editor and science writer, and started writing for “The Bridge” in December 2017.

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