Internet and Mental Health Services

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Mental health websites began in the mid-1990s and presently the internet is providing invaluable health information to millions of patients and professional physicians. Telepsychiatry or remote medical assistance can today be utilized through internet chats, e-mail, video conferencing, or internet phone (Mechanic 36).

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Codes of ethics on use of the internet in the provision of mental health services

Having to deal with mental health matters online is a highly sensitive and ethical issue. A patient’s informed consent must therefore be secured only after the psychotherapist has guided the patient on the usefulness and possible dangers mental health services provided via the net pose. A psychotherapist offering online mental health services to a minor must hhhhobtain consent from the minor’s adult caretaker. The psychotherapist needs to state how long it will take to respond to a patient’s email queries. Professional ethics demand that the patient enjoys confidentiality and privacy from the psychotherapist and also be informed of the procedures to follow in case of an emergency.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) follows ethical issues guided by the principles of service above self-interest, social justice to the vulnerable and oppressed, and respecting cultural and ethnic differences. A practitioner ought to seek the latest professional knowledge. A practitioner should never permit conflict of interest or engage in sexual activities with a current client. Ethics also demand that monetary charges be equal to the services given.

The current American Psychological Association’s ethical code puts protecting a patient’s confidentiality among the most sensitive ethical requirements (American Psychiatric Association 1066). Other ethical considerations are never to harm a patient, establishing trust with colleagues, and being highly cognizant of one’s professional responsibility to society. Bias in service derived from class or gender discrimination is unethical.

Practicing in states where one is unlicensed

Unless nationally accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), a mental health practitioner must receive additional training to be licensed to work in another state. The sense of this requirement is to weed out fraudulent practitioners and protect the consumer (American Psychiatric Association 102). In Louisiana, unlicensed providers must work within a licensed agency under the supervision of a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP). Failure to meet the age, education, and experience demanded by individual states can lead to prosecution.

Benefits and risks of internet mental health services for the client and the professional

Internet mental health services give clients the freedom of deeper expression and engagement with the counselor without the discomfort of a face to face contact. Patients afraid of stigma can receive services and heal incognito (Brill and Levine 23). The service also saves clients from wastage of time and high consultation expenses. For some, sharing their healing progress via the internet is therapeutic while at the same passing on hope to those with the same ailment. A professional psychologist or psychiatrist serving online saves on manpower expenses and gets a wider client base.

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The professional psychologist or psychiatrist also has thousands of websites to enrich his knowledge or create his website. A weakness with online solutions is that they can breed confusion emanating from excess information on the net that is sometimes contradictory. Some online services are vulnerable which can cause a patients’ confidentiality to be breached.


Mental health professionals and patients must remain informed on the latest developments by embracing online mental health services. Patients can now enjoy doing their research on personal medical afflictions and resolve them without expensive medical experts or stigmatization.


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders,.2000.

Brill, Naomi, and Levine, Joanne. Working With People: The Helping Process-with Myhelpinglab. 8th ed. Boston: Pearson Education Inc, 2005. Print

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Mechanic, David. Mental Health and Social Policy: Beyond Managed Care. New York: Addison Wesley, 2007. Print.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, May 30). Internet and Mental Health Services.

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"Internet and Mental Health Services." PsychologyWriting, 30 May 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Internet and Mental Health Services'. 30 May.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Internet and Mental Health Services." May 30, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Internet and Mental Health Services." May 30, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Internet and Mental Health Services." May 30, 2022.