Telepsychiatry During the COVID Pandemic: Reflection from India
Keywords:telepsychiatry, telemedicine practice guidelines, telepsychiatry operational guidelines, tele aftercare, telepsychiatry during pandemic
Introduction: Recent advancements in information technology and access to smartphone have expanded the scope of healthcare delivery services across the globe. Telemedicine is making healthcare affordable and more accessible to the needy in situations like the present pandemic. Although telepsychiatry services were underutilised initially in India due to various barriers, its role in delivering healthcare services, has gained pace since the last few years. During the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, India introduced telemedicine practice guidelines (March, 2020), and telepsychiatry operational guidelines (May, 2020), to remove barriers and promote equitable access. In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic various mental health institutes across India relied heavily upon telepsychiatry services to provide care. National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore being an Institute of National Importance has introduced different modules to provide clinical care to the mentally ill.
Objectives: In this article, the authors provide an experiential account of various clinical services provided by our institute through telepsychiatry means across India during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conclusion: These clinical service modules have tremendous potential to increase the use of technology in providing quality care to the unreached population, bridging the treatment gap for psychiatric disorders globally and developing countries in particular.
Manjunatha N, Kumar CN, Math SB. Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: time to optimize the potential of telepsychiatric aftercare clinic to ensure the continuity of care. Indian J Psychiatry 2020; 62(3): 320–1. doi: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_236_20
Naik SS, Manjunatha N, Kumar CN, Math SB, Moirangthem S. Patient’s perspectives of telepsychiatry: the past, present and future. Indian J Psychol Med 2020 Oct 1; 42(5_suppl): 102S–7S. doi: 10.1177/0253717620963341
Ibrahim FA, Pahuja E, Dinakaran D, Manjunatha N, Kumar CN, Math SB. The future of telepsychiatry in India. Indian J Psychol Med 2020 Oct; 42(5_suppl): 112S–17S. doi: 10.1177/0253717620959255
Gautham MS, Gururaj G, Varghese M, Benegal V, Rao GN, Kokane A, et al. The National Mental Health Survey of India (2016): prevalence, socio-demographic correlates and treatment gap of mental morbidity. Int J Soc Psychiatry 2020 Jun; 66(4): 361–72.
Gowda GS, Noorthoorn EO, Lepping P, Kumar CN, Nanjegowda RB, Math SB. Factors influencing advance directives among psychiatric inpatients in India. Int J Law Psychiatry 2018 Feb; 56: 17–26. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2017.10.002
Math SB, Moirangthem S, Kumar NC. Tele-psychiatry: after mars, can we reach the unreached? Indian J Psychol Med 2015 Apr; 37(2): 120–1. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.155606
Telemedicine Facility. Available from: https://www.aiims.edu/aiims/telemedicine/telepage_ch_23_10_17.htm [cited 15 December 2020].
Dinakaran D, Basavarajappa C, Manjunatha N, Kumar CN, Math SB. Telemedicine practice guidelines and telepsychiatry operational guidelines, India – a commentary. Indian J Psychol Med 2020 Sep 25; 42(5_suppl): 1S–3S. doi: 10.1177/0253717620958382
Warmerdam L, Smit F, van Straten A, Riper H, Cuijpers P. Cost-utility and cost-effectiveness of internet-based treatment for adults with depressive symptoms: randomized trial. J Med Internet Res 2010 Dec 19; 12(5): e53. doi: 10.2196/jmir.1436
Kumar MS, Krishnamurthy S, Dhruve N, Somashekar B, Gowda MR. Telepsychiatry netiquette: connect, communicate and consult. Indian J Psychol Med 2020 Oct 1; 42(5_suppl): 22S–6S. doi: 10.1177/0253717620958170
Das S, Manjunatha N, Kumar CN, Math SB, Thirthalli J. Tele-psychiatric after care clinic for the continuity of care: a pilot study from an academic hospital. Asian J Psychiatry 2020 Feb; 48: 101886. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2019.101886
Telemedicine.pdf. Available from: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Telemedicine.pdf [cited 15 December 2020].
Ravindran S, P Nirisha L, Channaveerachari NK, Seshadri SP, Kasi S, Manikappa SK, et al. Crossing barriers: role of a tele-outreach program addressing psychosocial needs in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic. Asian J Psychiatry 2020 Oct; 53: 102351. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102351
Ritish D, Dinakaran D, Chander R, Murugesan M, Ibrahim FA, Parthasarathy R, et al. Mental health concerns in quarantined international air passengers during COVID-19 pandemic – an experiential account. Asian J Psychiatry 2020 Oct; 53: 102364. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102364
Math SB, Manjunatha N, Kumar CN, Chethan B, Gangadhar BN. Telepsychiatry operational guidelines-2020. Bengaluru: NIMHANS; 2020. Telepsychiatry-Operational-Guidelines-2020-Inaug.pdf. Available from: http://nimhans.co.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Telepsychiatry-Operational-Guidelines-2020-Inaug.pdf [cited 22 December 2020].
Guidelines-for-Telepsychotherapy-Services-17.4.2020.pdf. Available from: https://nimhans.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Telepsychotherapy-Services-17.4.2020.pdf [cited 18 December 2020].
Guidelines for tele – psychiatric social work practice. Available from: https://nimhans.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Telepsychiatry-social-work-Inaug.pdf [cited 18 December 2020].
Poreddi V, Kathyayani B, Hatti NM, Konduru R, Manjunatha N, Kumar N, et al. NIMHANS telenursing practice guidelines 2020. 2020. Available from: https://nimhans.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/TeleNursing-Practice-Guideline-2020.pdf [cited 20 December 2020].
Advisory on Tele-Yoga Services. Available from: https://main.ayush.gov.in/sites/default/files/advisory%20on%20tele%20yoga%20services%202020_0.pdf [cited 24 December 2020].
Gangadhar BN, Varambally S. Yoga as therapy in psychiatric disorders: past, present, and future. Biofeedback 2011; 39: 60–3. doi: 10.5298/1081-5937-39.2.03
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Harihara Suchandra, Dinakaran Damodaran, Barikar C. Malathesh, Lakshmi Nirisha P., Narayana Manjunatha, C Naveen Kumar, Gopi Gajera, Sujai Ramachandraiah, Chethan Basavarajappa, Rajendra Gowda K.M., Suresh Bada Math
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to Telehealth and Medicine Today (TMT).