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Assessing the Effectiveness of Virtual Care for Adults with Mental Health and/or Addictions Issues

 

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the public-health measures introduced to limit its transmission, have meant that most mental health and addictions services abruptly pivoted to providing services virtually, with little-to-no opportunity to plan for this switch. As the pandemic’s first wave has largely passed in Ontario and elsewhere, plans are now being developed on how to safely reopen many of the in-person mental health and addictions services and supports. As part of this exercise, many questions are arising about how the system might sustain the gains achieved by virtual service delivery, while being attentive to barriers to access. This presents an opportunity to examine the literature on virtual care to understand the effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of delivering services and supports virtually for both services that are led by a clinician, as well as peer- and other group-based supports. The present review focuses specifically on evidence relating to virtual care for adults over the age of 18.

Rapid synthesis: