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What is the Role of eHealth Interventions in Mental Health and Addictions Treatment?

April 15, 2016

Frances Kay-Lambkin, PhD
Associate Professor, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales
NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Program Director (Translation), NHMRC CRE in Mental Health & Substance Use

About the Presentation: Globally, the gap between need for and receipt of treatment for mental disorders, including alcohol/other drug dependence, is wide.  This is especially true for non-pharmacological treatments such as counseling, which is often preferred by many patients.  Advances in technology have meant that computers and the Internet are highly accessible, and capable of providing evidence-based psychological interventions to people with mental disorders with high fidelity.  Despite this potential, many questions remain about the efficacy of computerized/Internet-delivered treatments for mental disorders, particularly when offered in isolation of clinical supervision and monitoring. Although over 100 computerized treatments have been developed for mental disorders, very few are designed for comorbid presentations, particularly co-occurring depression and alcohol/other drug use problems.  This is despite comorbidity being the rule rather than the exception in psychiatric and addiction service settings.  This presentation will summarise the latest evidence in the integration of technology into clinical practice, and describe where technology can best fit into the pathway to care for people experiencing mental health and addiction-related problems.  

About the Presenter: Dr. Kay-Lambkin leads an innovative research program that is internationally recognised for its impact, research quality, and significant translational and commercial value. Her work focuses on areas of critical need in the Australian and international landscape; increasing the evidence base and clinical translation of treatments for co-occurring (comorbid) mental and physical disorders. She is an NHMRC career development fellow and Director of Translation at the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (Australia), where she leads an international team of researchers, clinicians and industry partners in innovative development and translation of evidence-based treatments for comorbid mental and physical disorders. Her vision is to bring high quality treatment for comorbidity to the point-of-care for people experiencing mental and physical disorders, to ensure that the right person receives the right intervention at the right time. This involves developing clinically safe and efficacious interventions, conducting controlled research to better understand how these interventions translate into clinical practice and general population settings, and linking with basic scientists to better understand the key mechanisms and components of change for these interventions for different patient groups at different stages of disorder.