Mental health professionals views and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on implementing digital mental health in China: A nationwide survey study

Xiaolong Zhang, Shôn Lewis, Xu Chen, Natalie Berry, Sandra Bucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using digital health technologies (DHTs) to deliver and augment healthcare is an innovative way to solve common challenges that the mental healthcare setting faces. Despite China's rapid development of DHT, a comprehensive understanding of staff views of DHTs is lacking, which limited the evidence to support implementation strategies. In the current study, we aim to: (i) investigate staff attitudes towards digital technology for mental health problems in China; (ii) explore staff's views on the facilitators and barriers regarding uptake and adoption of digital technology in mental health services in China; and (iii) understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed staff views on digital mental health.

An online survey was conducted to explore staff attitudes towards implementing DHTs in China. Descriptive statistics were conducted to summarise quantitative data. Free-text data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

1270 mental health professionals completed the survey. Respondents reported low levels of knowledge of DHTs and moderate levels of accessibility of DHTs in their hospitals. Respondents expressed positive attitudes towards DHTs and demonstrated moderate levels of perceived feasibility and acceptability of implementing DHTs in clinical services. As expected, respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant impacts on their clinical services, and almost all respondents deemed DHTs useful for services provision during the pandemic and were willing to apply such technologies in clinical services after the pandemic.

Despite the Chinese mental health staff expressed positive attitudes towards implementing DHTs in clinical practice, most of the staff lacked sufficient knowledge to provide such services. These findings highlight the need to develop implementation strategies such as training programmes and dissemination of research evidence to support the translation of research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100576
JournalInternet interventions
Early online date24 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


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