Implementing video conferencing in mental health practice


  • Declaration of interest: The authors declare no interests.

F. W. Jones, Department of Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Salomons Campus, Broomhill Road, Southborough, Kent TN3 0TG, UK, E-mail:


Accessible summary

  • • In this paper we review past research that suggests video conferencing (VC) can be successfully used in a number of ways in mental health services. These ways include holding staff meetings remotely, conducting assessment and treatment when it is not easy for the clinician and service user to be at the same location, and running staff training remotely.
  • • We also present some guidance regarding issues to be considered when introducing VC into mental health settings, such as the importance of staff and service user consultation, the necessity for training in VC and advice about how to conduct meetings by VC.
  • • Beginning to use VC can represent a significant cultural change for staff and service users. We hope that this paper will provide a useful summary of things that may help support this change.


The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the evidence base regarding the use of video conferencing (VC), implementation issues, policies, procedures, technical requirements and VC etiquette. The paper is based on a literature review of VC within the mental health sector and the authors' experience in implementing VC. Six themes emerged from the literature review: applications of VC, VC assessments, treatment, training and supervision, practitioner anxiety, and VC administrative processes. The results of the review support the use of VC in mental health services. Guidelines for the implementation of VC are discussed, including the importance of staff and service user consultations, training in the use of VC, clear guidance for staff with regards to usage, confidentiality and data protection policies, and VC etiquette. Challenges that can arise when implementing VC in a mental health context are also discussed. Arguably, it is not the technology, but the cultural change it represents to staff which seems to be the most important factor regarding successful implementation.