Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Information and Communication Technology for People with Schizophrenia.

Patient education and support for people with schizophrenia by using information and communication technology.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) includes the use of computers, telephones, television and radio, video and audio recordings. It consists of all technical means used to handle information and communication. During the last twenty years there has been a growing trend towards the use of ICT for the delivery of education, treatment and social support for people with mental illness.

Education about illness and treatment has been found to be a good way to increase a person's awareness of their health. ICT has the potential to improve many aspects of overall care, including: better education and social support; improved information and management of illness; increased access to health services; improved quality of care; better contact and continuity with services and cut costs. Recent studies show that ICT and the web may also support people in their working lives and social relationships plus help cope with depression and anxiety. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the specific effectiveness of ICT for helping people with severe mental health problems such as schizophrenia.

This review includes six studies with a total of 1063 people. Although education and support using ICT shows great promise, there was no clear benefit of using ICT (when compared with standard or usual care and/or other methods of education and support) for people with severe mental illness. However, the authors of the review suggest that this should not put off or postpone future high quality research on ICT, which is a promising and growing area of much importance.

Find the full summary here:

From a service user perspective (SUPER), Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and especially the World Wide Web (WWW) are a growing and global part of our everyday lives.  This includes a growing number of websites, telephone lines and ICT resources that help people with their health and social support.  Although these should never stand in place of face-to-face care, they are easily accessed and can help people with information to better manage their mental health. 

In some families, a computer may not be available and be seen as an expensive luxury.  Phone calls may not be as good as meeting someone in person.  However, there are websites and phone lines that help people as a first port of call, as an initial contact that leads to fuller treatment and support (such as NHS Direct).

There are also a growing number of ICT packs and websites that are produced by people who use mental health services for people who use mental health services.  In other words, people with mental health issues are producing ICT training materials, websites, service user forums, chat rooms and discussion lists for people to help in their treatment, care and recovery.

For example, see:

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