Can't surf, won't surf: the digital divide in mental health

Liam Ennis, Diana Rose, Mike Denis, Ninjeri Pandit, Til Wykes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


New health information technology (HIT) increasingly plays a role in health care as technology becomes cheaper and more widespread. However, there is a danger that those who do not use or have access to technology will not benefit from HIT innovations, thus creating a “digital divide”.

To assess the extent to which mental health service users have access to, skills in using and appetite for various technologies.

A cross-sectional survey was used to assess technology use and access patterns of 121 people from community mental health services. Data were analysed using logistic regression.

Technology use and access were very similar to that of the general population with older individuals reporting less familiarity, access and confidence across a range of technologies. Black, minority and ethnic (BME) groups were more likely to access computers outside of their own homes than white individuals. Older participants experiencing psychosis indicated a desire to increase their computer use.

The findings reported here contrast with recent evidence suggesting that those who do not engage with technology are “self-excluders”. Furthermore, BME groups may need extra support regarding provision of technology in order to engage with HIT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-403
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


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