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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 162-167

Telepsychiatry and COVID-19: A new dawn for digital psychiatry?

1 Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, Radbourne Unit, Royal Derby Hospital, Chandigarh, India
2 Dr. Parmod Clinic, Chandigarh, India
3 Horton Park Centre, Bradford District Care Foundation Trust, Bradford, United Kingdom
4 Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Derby Hospital, Derby, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Subodh Dave
Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, Radbourne Unit, Royal Derby Hospital, Derby, DE22 3WQ
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_289_20

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Psychiatrists all over the world are being presented with the unique challenge of continuing to deliver mental health care during, and after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telepsychiatry has emerged as a potential solution to this challenge, especially when physical distancing has become the norm in social discourse. India, with its vast rural population and technological prowess, has been one of the early adopters of telepsychiatry. However, given the reach of mobile telephony in India, its usage is not as widespread as anticipated. In the post COVID-19 world, the rapid and broad adoption of telepsychiatry could offer a potential solution to bridge the gap between the availability and need for mental health professionals and interventions. Evidence suggests that telepsychiatry is at least as effective as face-to-face consultations in improving mental health outcomes. There is emerging literature on the remote assessment of patients in various settings globally and from India. This article aims to help clinicians translate this evidence into action in their clinical practice by providing practice guidance on conducting comprehensive telepsychiatry assessments. It also sheds light on the challenges and opportunities encountered with telepsychiatry in the Indian setting.

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