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The use of telepsychiatry during COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand: experiences, learnings and cultural safety

Lauren Barnett (Mental Health and Addiction Services, Health New Zealand Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, New Zealand)
Alisha Vara (Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Mark Lawrence (Mental Health and Addiction Services, Health New Zealand Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, New Zealand)
Etuini Ma'u (Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Rodrigo Ramalho (Department of Social and Community Health, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Yan Chen (Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education, School of Medicine, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Grant Christie (Specialist Mental Health and Addiction Services, Health New Zealand Waitematā, Auckland, New Zealand)
Gary Cheung (Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 2 April 2024

Issue publication date: 15 April 2024

31

Abstract

Purpose

Many psychiatrists and trainees in Aotearoa New Zealand used telepsychiatry during COVID-19 lockdowns, despite minimal experience and training in the area. Research on a culturally safe telepsychiatry framework is lacking in Aotearoa. This study aims to provide a better understanding of telepsychiatry in the Aotearoa context and identify potential gaps with the current practice, with a focus on exploring telepsychiatry use with Maori, Pacific peoples and Asians.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative study was guided by the principles of the Kaupapa Maori methodology and the “Give Way Rule” from Pan-Pacific studies, to ensure culturally appropriate analysis and outcomes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of psychiatrists and trainees recruited from Aotearoa members of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. The qualitative data were then analysed using general inductive thematic analysis to identify the major themes.

Findings

In total, 18 participants were interviewed. Three key themes were identified: cultural safety such as preparation for a telepsychiatry session, cultural practices and equity issues; clinical practice such as continuity of care, patient selection and limitations; and process of running a telepsychiatry service.

Originality/value

The analysis of the main themes gives both practical ideas for providing a culturally safe telepsychiatry appointment, as well as a wider base for developing a telepsychiatry service that works particularly for Maori, Pacific and Asians mental health users. Issues around resources and expertise in the field are lacking and further frameworks to support infrastructure and training are needed.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Corrigendum: It has come to the attention of the publisher that the paper, Barnett, L., Vara, A., Lawrence, M., Ma’u, E., Ramalho, R., Chen, Y., Christie, G. and Cheung, G. (2024), “The use of telepsychiatry during COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand: experiences, learnings and cultural safety”, The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-04-2023-0035, incorrectly listed the affiliation details of the authors at submission. The affiliation details of the authors have been corrected in the online version of the article. The publisher sincerely apologises to readers for any inconvenience caused.

This study was funded by the Oakley Mental Health Foundation. The funder had no role in the study design, data analysis, preparation of the manuscript and decision to submit the manuscript for pubication.

Disclosure statement: None in relation to this submitted work.

Citation

Barnett, L., Vara, A., Lawrence, M., Ma'u, E., Ramalho, R., Chen, Y., Christie, G. and Cheung, G. (2024), "The use of telepsychiatry during COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand: experiences, learnings and cultural safety", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 86-95. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-04-2023-0035

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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