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Health IT curbs barriers to mental health

Computer-based tools and other technology could help patients with mental health disorders overcome barriers to seeking treatment, according to a recent report by the California HealthCare Foundation.
The report, by health economist Jane Sarasohn- Kahn, notes that several barriers prevent people from seeking mental health care, such as:
•    Confusion about where to seek help;
•    Lack of insurance coverage;
•    Social stigma; and
•    Unwillingness to take psychoactive drugs.

The report states that computer-based cognitive therapy offers a low-cost, convenient alternative to traditional psychotherapy. It adds that computer-based therapy also could help people in underserved areas obtain access to mental health treatment.
According to the report, other IT tools that could aid in mental health treatment include:
•    Mobile health applications;
•    Online social networks;
•    Therapy-oriented games; and
•    Virtual reality programs.

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