First European seminar about e-mental health training and curriculum development takes off in Haarlem, the Netherlands.
E-mental health training: now and in the future
On 10th April a selected group of stakeholders came to Haarlem to discuss the urgent need for more and improved e-mental health training for students and professionals. In recent years most universities in the Netherlands have started to offer introductory e-mental health courses. This process has had no national coordination, with each university making its own courses, which has resulted in diverging approaches and e-mental health skills.
At this moment none of the universities are able to deliver 'blended care' psychologists or psychiatrists able to treat patients face-to-face and online. Lack of training is one of the main barriers to faster e-mental health implementation. The student panel confirmed this and stressed the need for urgent action. They want to learn real and practical e-mental health skills and more knowledge about how to effectively use this technology in the primary care process.
We have not seen any e-mental health courses at universities in the rest of Europe. Urgent action is therefore necessary on a European level.
Interesting presentations were given by one of the e-mental health psychologists (Tim Wind PhD) of Arq-C45, an e-mental health ICT provider Therapieland (Jarno Meijer) and Prof. Andrea Evers of the University of Leiden. The presentation by Tim and his client, a veteran with PTSD, made a particular impression. The enthusiasm for and usefulness of e-health shone from it. Their advice: walk ahead of your managers and the troops and just get started! Create space for yourself, look at what the client wants in the field of e-mental health and facilitate that.
‘’When I showed Tim an app that I found to help with the treatment he was open to the idea to incorporate it in the treatment. That was very refreshing!’’A. Bijl
There were also different parallel sessions focusing on the different e-mental health training courses offered and what is needed to push this training agenda forward. The latter also included many of the other implementation barriers, which were presented by eMEN project leader Oyono Vlijter. These include reimbursement, validation, organisational priority, policy reform, awareness and acceptance etc.
After product pitches of several e-mental health SMEs, the moderator of this seminar, Hyleco Nauta (Director eHealth Innovations of the University Medical Centre Utrecht) concluded this day by confirming that education is one of the most imported keys to e-mental health implementation and that more cooperation is necessary to move this urgent agenda forward.
We will continue to discuss this topic and exchange best practices at our next seminar and conferences.