Background & Hypothesis: Research has revealed a high prevalence of depression, anxiety, and burnout among medical students accompanied by widespread lack of treatment. We hypothesize that by leveraging our study findings examining the use of telemental health(TMH) among youth (ages 14-24) alongside results from existing research focused on the mental health needs of medical students (median age at start 22-24 years old), we will gain valuable insight into the potential for TMH to address the needs of this high-risk population.

Methods: Using the Delphi method, a sample of 25 experts were surveyed anonymously, thus avoiding group pressure for conformity while also developing a consensus. Three rounds of surveys were completed over two months, including Likert scale and open-ended questions.

Results: Participants agreed that TMH may help overcome highly ranked barriers to getting mental health help: stigma (92% say this is a barrier /64% believe TMH will help), cost (84%/56%), poor availability of mental health services (60%/76%) and transportation (60%/88%). Concerns regarding TMH use expressed by participants included: technology alone is not sufficient to address the mental health care needs of youth (75% of participants), technology may impede development of therapeutic connections (60%), and performing therapy via technology may not be sufficiently personal (50%). Conclusions: Lack of time, stigma, fear of impact on career/academic record, and fear of being recognized by a colleague associated with the mental health center are some of the barriers to mental health treatment experienced by untreated medical students, which overlap considerably with the barriers that our participants agreed could be overcome using TMH. Given the unmet need for mental health care among medical students and prior research, our work suggests more medical schools should consider how to integrate TMH resources into their academic support systems.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Poster presentation. American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium, November 3-7, 2018 in San Francisco, CA.

Included in

Cardiology Commons