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GPs' attitudes towards digital technologies for depression: an online survey in primary care

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  • Josefien Jf Breedvelt
  • Victoria Zamperoni
  • David Kessler
  • Heleen Riper
  • Annet M Kleiboer
  • Iris Elliott
  • Kathryn M Abel
  • Simon Gilbody
  • Claudi Lh Bockting


Publication details

JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
DateAccepted/In press - 20 Aug 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 17 Dec 2018
Number of pages7
Early online date17/12/18
Original languageEnglish


BACKGROUND: Digital or electronic mental health (e-mental health) interventions can be useful approaches in reducing the burden of depression, with tools available for use in prevention, treatment, or relapse prevention. They may have specific benefit for primary care, as depression is often managed in this setting. However, little is known about attitudes and barriers among GPs towards e-mental health interventions for depression.

AIM: This study aimed to assess attitudes, knowledge, use, and barriers for depression-focused e-mental health among GPs across the UK.

DESIGN AND SETTING: An online survey of self-selecting GPs in the UK conducted over a 10-day period in December 2017.

METHOD: The survey consisted of 13 multiple choice questions posted on the (DNUK) website.

RESULTS: In all, 1044 responses were included; 72% of GPs reported using at least one type of e-mental health intervention for depression. Overall, GPs reported that e-mental health interventions are most effective when delivered in a guided way, rather than in an unguided manner. In addition, 92% of GPs reported that neither they nor their colleagues received e-mental health training.

CONCLUSION: A moderate number of GPs use e-mental health for depression in their services, and report it is likely that its use will increase. There is a gap in training and awareness of effective interventions. GPs consider guided e-mental health interventions to be most effective, in contrast to the unguided way it is mostly offered in primary care.

Bibliographical note

© British Journal of General Practice 2018

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