Introduction: Remote delivery of assessment, consultation, and therapy via digital communication technologies in mental health services is important in rural locations, and has rapidly increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: This research investigated what factors should be considered in the development and evaluation of digitally-mediated service provision for children and young people with social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs using two approaches: (1) a focus group with five young people (aged 16-19 years); and (2) an online survey with 18 parents/carers of primary-aged children with SEMH difficulties.
Results: Getting help quickly was most important to both young people and parents/carers when accessing services, with having a say in their care of equal importance to young people but not parents/carers. Analysis identified participants’ preferences and perceived positives and negatives of digitally-mediated service provision.
Conclusion: Digitally mediated service provision should be timely and patient-centred to be considered acceptable by young people with SEMH needs and their parents/carers. Evaluations should include comprehensive measures of service efficiency and service user experience to better understand the benefits of digital mediation.