Exponential growth in e-Mental Health technologies offers great promise for mental health treatment, crisis and addiction support, suicide prevention and building mental resilience. Conversely, the sensitivity of health information collected presents ethical, data protection and privacy challenges, with sector regulation remaining unclear. Jurisdictions including Australia and Canada have developed novel e-Mental Health standards and application assessment frameworks that may point the way to safer, more culturally equitable, evidence-informed innovation. Is the diverse e-Mental Health Industry, including AI-enabled technologies, ready to embrace better data governance? What are the growing efforts to digitise public mental health services? Are existing regulatory instruments swift enough to improve protections for vulnerable citizens? This exploratory panel presents an inter-jurisdictional examination on data protection and privacy challenges in e-Mental Health, aiming to share global lessons on approaches to safety, quality and improved protection of citizens’ sensitive data.
• What guarantees can standards, accreditation and assessment frameworks provide to support safer delivery of digital mental health products?
• What are the challenges and barriers with hard and soft regulatory models?
• Is over-regulation a barrier for innovation and what engagement strategies are required to bring Industry onboard?
• What legal instruments do we have to respond to these challenges?