The red road meets the information superhighway : using telehealth technology for psychological services in a northern Aboriginal community
From September 2000 through May 2001, a team of two psychologists and two psychology graduate students (myself included) from the University of Saskatchewan delivered a variety of psychological services to a remote reserve community in northern Saskatchewan via telehealth from the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. Using telehealth, we provided psychoeducational information, therapy, assessments, case consultations and support services to Aboriginal health workers in this community. The present study is an evaluation of the use of telehealth in the delivery of psychological services to remote reserve communities. A semi-structured interview was employed to gain knowledge about the experiences of people involved in this telehealth project as well as the insights, thoughts and beliefs of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal mental health workers regarding the use of telehealth with remote communities. In total, eight interviews were conducted for this study. Results indicate that although telehealth technology was seen as positive, psychology is often perceived in a negative manner by Aboriginal people. Due to this disconnection between Aboriginal people and Western psychology, psychological service provision with telehealth needs to be considered in conjunction with building relationships and trust in the community. Despite the difficulties, the results indicate that there is much that can be gained by providing psychological services to remote Aboriginal communities via telehealth.
Aboriginal mental health, Aboriginal peoples - Psychology, Mental health service - Remote delivery methods, Telehealth technology
Master of Arts (M.A.)