Psychiatr Q (2006) 77:335–342
Telepsychiatry and e-Mental Health Services: Potential
for Improving Access to Mental Health Care
Kaye L. McGinty, M.D. · Sy Atezaz Saeed, M.D. ·
Scott C. Simmons, M.S. · Yilmaz Yildirim, M.D.
Published online: 23 August 2006
Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006
Abstract Reforming mental health care is a focus of many ongoing initiatives in the United
States, both at the national and state levels. Access to adequate mental health care services
is one of the identiﬁed problems. Telepsychiatry and e-mental health services could improve
access to mental health care in rural, remote and underserved areas. The authors discuss the
required technology, common applications and barriers associated with the implementation
of telepsychiatry and e-mental health services.
health care access
Mental health care
Access to adequate mental health services is still problematic in many parts of the United
States, especially rural areas. The New Freedom Commission on Mental Health highlighted
these problems and called for a transformation of the mental health care delivery system
in the United States. This transformed system would be focused on building resilience and
facilitating recovery . One way to address these identiﬁed disparities would be promoting
the use of telepsychiatry and e-mental health services.
Telepsychiatry is the delivery of psychiatric services over distances, especially via inter-
active videoconferencing. E-mental health relates to mental health services provided through
any form of electronic medium, most commonly Internet or telephone . The development
of telepsychiatry has been driven by multiple factors including efforts to improve access
to mental health services, to improve quality of care, to provide more community-based
K. L. McGinty, M.D. (
) · S. A. Saeed, M.D. · Y. Yildirim, M.D.
Department of Psychiatric Medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University,
Greenville, NC 27834, USA
S. C. Simmons, M.S.
Telemedicine Center at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27834, USA