Mental health disorders are a variety of conditions that influence a person’s thinking, mood, and behavior (Mayo Clinic, 2023 para. 1). Since the COVID-19 pandemic mental health disorders have worsened and revealed there is insufficient support for mental health services in the United States for youth (Hoffmann & Duffy, 2021). Since the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth usage has increased rapidly around the world. This has offered a beneficial opportunity for youth in rural, urban, and suburban populations. Telehealth has increased access to a wider range of health care providers and specialties. The aim of this rapid systematic review was to explore existing literature on whether interventions via telehealth are effective in treating mental health disorders in adolescents, and to determine if there are any areas that need further research.
A rapid systematic review of literature using three databases was conducted. Medical subject headings and key terminology was used, the search produced 330 articles 12 duplicates were removed, and 318 titles and abstracts were screened. After filtering for inclusion criteria 313 articles were excluded yielding five studies for the review. Of the 5 studies that were included in the systematic review 2 were randomized control trials (18, 22) and 3 were quasi-experimental (14, 25, 29).
The results from the rapid systematic review of existing literature revealed that interventions via telehealth can be a potentially effective way to decrease symptoms for adolescents with mental health disorders. Participants in all 5 studies who had finished the trials had a reduction in their symptoms compared to baseline. Retention rates were higher in among the telehealth cohorts and there was also high clinician and parent satisfaction scores for the studies that measured them.
Telehealth provides an alternative option to traditional in person care that may be a limitation for youth in communities that live a distance away from healthcare providers, it provides increased access to a greater number of providers, and it has the potential to provide treatment that results in long term decreases in symptoms caused by mental health disorders. However, more research is needed to determine the long-term outcomes of treatment.
Harmer, Dana, "Telehealth for Adolescents Experiencing Mental Health Challenges: A Rapid Systematic Review" (2023). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 481.