Digital Literacy

Digital literacy related to telemental health services refers to the ability of mental health professionals, clients, and other stakeholders to effectively use digital technologies for accessing, delivering, and managing mental health care. It encompasses a range of skills and knowledge necessary to navigate digital platforms, communicate securely, and access resources online within the context of mental health services. Overall, digital literacy plays a critical role in ensuring the effective and ethical delivery of telemental health services, as well as promoting positive outcomes for both mental health professionals and their clients in the digital age.

Here are some key aspects of digital literacy in telemental health:

  • Platform Proficiency: Mental health professionals need to be proficient in using teleconferencing platforms, messaging systems, and other digital tools specific to telemental health delivery. This includes understanding how to schedule appointments, conduct secure video sessions, and use communication features effectively.
  • Privacy and Security Awareness: Digital literacy in telemental health involves understanding privacy regulations (such as HIPAA) and security best practices for protecting client confidentiality and data integrity. This includes knowledge of encryption methods, secure communication protocols, and how to safeguard against cybersecurity threats.
  • Technical Troubleshooting: Mental health professionals should be capable of troubleshooting common technical issues that may arise during telemental health sessions, such as connectivity issues, audio/video problems, or software glitches. This may involve basic troubleshooting steps or knowing when to seek technical support.
  • Informed Consent and Communication: Clients need to be digitally literate in understanding the risks, benefits, and limitations of telemental health services. This includes providing informed consent for using digital technologies, understanding how their data will be handled, and knowing how to communicate effectively with their mental health provider using digital platforms.

Informed Consent Resource

This Telehealth Informed Consent Checklist from TheraNest provides a list of things to consider when creating an informed consent document for clients. For sample informed consent forms, see the Sample TMH Program Documents page. 

  • Access to Resources: Digital literacy also involves knowing how to access reliable mental health resources and information online. This includes understanding how to evaluate the credibility of online sources, accessing teletherapy resources, and utilizing digital self-help tools or therapy apps.
  • Digital Boundaries and Etiquette: Both mental health professionals and clients should be aware of digital boundaries and etiquette when engaging in telemental health services. This includes respecting privacy, maintaining professional conduct in digital communications, and establishing clear boundaries around technology use during sessions.
  • Cultural Sensitivity and Accessibility: Digital literacy in telemental health involves understanding the diverse needs and preferences of clients, including those related to culture, language, and accessibility. This may involve providing accommodations for clients with disabilities, offering language support, or addressing cultural considerations in digital communication.

Page Last Updated: June 2024

Request Technical Assistance

Interested in further guidance or additional resources on this topic? Submit a request for TA and a member of our team will get in touch to provide customized support.

Share your feedback

Do you have a resource on this topic that you’d like us to include on our resource center? Do you have any other feedback that you’d like to share? Let us know by submitting a feedback form!