Wellington, November 16, 2019
New Zealand’s Health Ministry is developing an eMental Health Framework to guide the use of eMental health services.
Mental Health and Addiction Deputy Director-General Robyn Shearer announced this initiative at the International eMental Health Experts Forum held at Northern Club in Auckland on November 13, 2019.
Professor (Adjunct) Anil Thapliyal
Auckland based HealthTRX organised the one-day Conference which witnessed the gathering of e-Mental Health experts and specialists from New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Sweden and other countries.
HealthTRX Chief Executive Anil Thapliyal was among the speakers.
The Ministry has been working with Mr Thapliyal, who is also President of the eMental Health International Collaborative to develop a framework, which should be ready for use in early 2020.
Mr Thapliyal is known for implementation of high profile promotion, prevention initiatives and digital tools in the mental health and wellbeing area to improve access and treatment choice for people needing support.
HealthTRX which he established as a 100% Kiwi ingenuity has national and international presence including New Zealand Canada, Australia, USA and Hong Kong.
He is respected as a top global influencer in eMental Health.
Digital Services to the fore
Ms Shearer said that New Zealand’s mental health and addiction sector is in a period of change and “digital services are at the heart of that change and will play an increasingly important role.”
“The data shows the system is under pressure and unsustainable in its current form, hence the need for major change. eMental health tools and services are critical to the journey we are on,” she said.
The importance of embracing digital technologies is highlighted in the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction report, He Ara Oranga.
Other workplace challenges
Ms Shearer said that eMental health services can help with issues around workforce shortages and the challenge of providing services to remote and isolated communities, she said.
“Face-to-face interventions should work hand in hand with telehealth and digital support,” she said.
New Zealand currently has no overarching policy framework to guide the use of eMental health tools such as e-coaching, e-screening and e-therapy.
“Digital mental health programmes … are revolutionising our country’s mental health services, but we need to ensure they’re safe and fit-for-purpose. The Ministry’s developing an e-Mental Health Framework to guide the use and development of e-mental health to better support providers who deliver telehealth and web-based programmes, practitioners and the public,” Ms Shearer said.
She said that the framework will enhance the confidence of people accessing tools and services online in New Zealand.