The impact and the experiences of mental health consultations remotely or in-person – a mixed methods study


Supervisor: Mariana Pinto da Costa

Non-accademic partner: South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Studentship start date: 01/10/2023

Application deadline: 31/03/2023

Application details: Further information on how to apply will be detailed from January 2023, in the meantime if you have any questions about the project or application process please get in touch with the supervisor.

Remote consultations, using telephone and internet-based resources, are promising approaches to reducing the lack of mental health treatment for people who need it. TheCOVID-19 pandemic precipitated the implementation of remote care in health services due to social distancing requirements.

Little is known about the implications and differences between remote and in-person care in the mental health field, where bonding is a crucial element of the therapeutic relationship, as it has been widely identified by mental health professionals based upon John Bowlby’s attachment theory. Therefore, this PhD proposal aims to answer the research question: “What are the differences between providing mental health consultations remotely and in-person in patients’ outcomes and its implementation?”

The proposed mixed-methods PhD study will follow threesteps:

1) Review of the evidence The review will focus on assessing the existent literature on the differences in the effectiveness of reducing symptoms and other health outcomes when accessing remote and in-person mental health consultations, as well as the differences in implementation outcomes between these two models of care.

2) Clinical records data analyses South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM)developed a clinical records platform in 2008 to make SLaM’s electronic health records available for research, containing patients’ health information in real time. The SLaM’s data analyses will aim to compare how in-person and remote mental health consultations in South London impact health outcomes, such as symptom reduction, quality of life and treatment adherence. These analyses will be beneficial as the platform’s data gives access to real-life situations on a large scale.

3) Service user and professional views Individual interviews will be carried out with service users and health professionals to ascertain views and experiences of remote and in-person consultations in mental health services in South London. Interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data will be coded and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis based on the attachment theory.