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Tele mental health care is the use of telecommunications technology to provide mental health services to individuals in communities or locations that are underserviced, typically as a result of geographic isolation. Examples of tele mental health services include providing health workers in remote areas with continuing education on mental health topics, videoconferenced consultations on routine and urgent mental health cases using a "virtual" case management team, and providing direct mental health care services through two-way interactive systems. One of the most controversial telemental health care applications is providing treatment services over the Internet directly.

There are many encrypted technologies that are HIPAA compliant and in use by private practitioners, private clinic networks, hospitals and government agencies.[1]

While telecommunications have been used for decades to provide some mental health services (usually on an emergency basis or for experimental purposes), it was only in the 1990s that tele mental health care services truly came into their own. Despite the early success of tele mental health care services however, wide-scale implementation remains dependent on policy and funding initiatives although the outlook remains positive.

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