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Keywords:

  • access-to-care;
  • mental health care;
  • rural;
  • service delivery;
  • tele-mental health;
  • telepsychiatry;
  • telepsychology;
  • videoconferencing

The provision of mental health services via videoconferencing tele-mental health has become an increasingly routine component of mental health service delivery throughout the world. Emphasizing the research literature since 2003, we examine (a) the extent to which the field of tele-mental health has advanced the research agenda previously suggested and (b) implications for tele-mental healthcare delivery for special clinical populations. Previous findings have demonstrated that tele-mental health services are satisfactory to patients, improve outcomes, and are probably cost effective. In the very small number of randomized controlled studies that have been conducted to date, tele-mental health has demonstrated equivalent efficacy compared to face-to-face care in a variety of clinical settings and with specific patient populations. However, methodologically flawed or limited research studies are the norm, and thus the research agenda for tele-mental health has not been fully maximized. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.