Attitudes towards digital treatment for depression: A European stakeholder survey

Naira Topooco*, Heleen Riper, Ricardo Araya, Matthias Berking, Matthias Brunn, Karine Chevreul, Roman Cieslak, David Daniel Ebert, Ernestina Etchmendy, Rocío Herrero, Annet Kleiboer, Tobias Krieger, Azucena García-Palacios, Arlinda Cerga-Pashoja, Ewelina Smoktunowicz, Antoine Urech, Christiaan Vis, Gerhard Andersson, On behalf of the E-COMPARED consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background The integration of digital treatments into national mental health services is on the agenda in the European Union. The E-COMPARED consortium conducted a survey aimed at exploring stakeholders’ knowledge, acceptance and expectations of digital treatments for depression, and at identifying factors that might influence their opinions when considering the implementation of these approaches. Method An online survey was conducted in eight European countries: France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and The United Kingdom. Organisations representing government bodies, care providers, service-users, funding/insurance bodies, technical developers and researchers were invited to participate in the survey. The participating countries and organisations reflect the diversity in health care infrastructures and e-health implementation across Europe. Results A total of 764 organisations were invited to the survey during the period March–June 2014, with 175 of these organisations participating in our survey. The participating stakeholders reported moderate knowledge of digital treatments and considered cost-effectiveness to be the primary incentive for integration into care services. Low feasibility of delivery within existing care services was considered to be a primary barrier. Digital treatments were regarded more suitable for milder forms of depression. Stakeholders showed greater acceptability towards blended treatment (the integration of face-to-face and internet sessions within the same treatment protocol) compared to standalone internet treatments. Organisations in countries with developed e-health solutions reported greater knowledge and acceptability of digital treatments. Conclusion Mental health stakeholders in Europe are aware of the potential benefits of digital interventions. However, there are variations between countries and stakeholders in terms of level of knowledge about such interventions and their feasibility within routine care services. The high acceptance of blended treatments is an interesting finding that indicates a gradual integration of technology into clinical practice may fit the attitudes and needs of stakeholders. The potential of the blended treatment approach, in terms of enhancing acceptance of digital treatment while retaining the benefit of cost-effectiveness in delivery, should be further explored. Funding The E-COMPARED project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement no. 603098.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternet Interventions
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Blended treatment
  • Comparative effectiveness research
  • Depression
  • Digital treatment
  • E-mental health
  • Internet-delivered

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