MYTH: Stepped Care = low intensity e-mental health

Recently I have learned that some practitioners equate the term “stepped care” with low intensity e-mental health programming.This is far from true. FACT: Stepped care includes all levels and types of mental health programming.

Stepped Care is a transtheoretical, transdisciplinary heuristic for identifying the right care or support option at the right time for the right person in the right context. It is a framework for improving access and outcomes. It encompasses and rationally organizes all forms of mental health treatment on a broad spectrum of intensity and complexity according to principles aimed at ensuring more immediate access while fostering empowerment and adjusting to clients’ readiness for embracing change. Stepped Care 2.0 is not a pathways model. This means that while simple solutions are typically considered first, clients can avail of programming at any level at any time as long as there is a clear rational for do so. Choices are made transparently and collaboratively between provider and client. Stepped Care provides guidelines, for both provider and client, for determining how, when and where to access any type of support or intervention, including:

  • self-help
  • population-based health promotion and illness prevention
  • intake sessions and single sessions
  • workshops
  • peer-to-peer support
  • therapist-assisted online treatments including iCBT
  • traditional group therapy
  • traditional individual therapy
  • outpatient psychiatry
  • case management and system navigation
  • inpatient psyhiatry

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