traditional treatment via modern approach

Telepsychiatry is a method that has been used in the US and Australia since 1959. Telepsychiatry can be defined as “the use of telecommunications technology
in order to establish connection between clients and practitioners with regard to psychoeducation, diagnosis and treatment”.

Little Prince Centre located in Copenhagen, is the only place in Denmark where the telepsychiatric method is used in the assessment and treatment of mental illnesses. The development of telepsychiatry in Denmark is supported by the Ministry of the Interior and Health, The Egmont Foundation and The Health Insurance Foundation. Ministry of the Interior and Health, The Egmont Foundation and The Health Insurance Foundation.

The method consists in the idea that the client and the psychiatrist can both see and hear each other just as in direct TV transmission. This means that the client can receive treatment in his or her own municipality, while the psychiatrist is located in Copenhagen.

The purpose of the method in Denmark is:
to make it possible for clients of other ethnical heritage than Danish to receive psychiatric treatment in their native language. Hence, the patient will get qualified and quicker treatment without the need for an interpreter.

To provide psychiatric assistance for Danish citizens where access to professional help is limited because of long waiting times and/or lack of resources.

At six different places in Denmark technical equipment that allows the clients to speak with the doctor “on-line” has been installed. From psychiatric departments in three different hospitals via social psychiatry to asylum seekers centre the telepsychiatric method of communicating is tested and…it works. Satisfactory level of all participants involved in telepsychiatry-project is very high as well as they willingness to use it again and to recommend it to others. There are no participants so far that would prefer communication via interpreter.

This technological novelty means that the local authorities can:

– Refer both Danes and refugees/immigrants to a psychiatric specialist doctor assessment and possibly suggestions for treatment e.g. in connection with pension-and rehabilitation cases.
– Have the possibility of direct counselling/information on a current therapy process of its clients through telepsychiatry.
– Save both money and time since there are neither interpreters nor transportation expenses involved in the psychiatric assistance.

Telepsychiatry makes the hospital / psychiatric unit able to:

1. get qualified psychiatric help in places with shortage of doctors
2. provide supervision and/or teaching of the younger doctors in the provinces
3. treat patients that are non-ethnic Danes in their native language (saves interpreter- and transportation expenses, shortens treatment / duration of admittance)
4. form groups of relatives for mental ill refugees /immigrants who will then receive relevant information in their own language.



TV2 Bornholm, 2005.


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