Mind the Gaps: Ethical and Epistemic Issues in the Digital Mental Health Response to Covid‐19

Hastings Center Report 51 (6):23-26 (2021)
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Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, proponents of digital psychiatry were touting the promise of various digital tools and techniques to revolutionize mental healthcare. As social distancing and its knock-on effects have strained existing mental health infrastructures, calls have grown louder for implementing various digital mental health solutions at scale. Decisions made today will shape the future of mental healthcare for the foreseeable future. We argue that bioethicists are uniquely positioned to cut through the hype surrounding digital mental health, which can obscure crucial ethical and epistemic gaps that ought to be considered by policymakers before committing to a digital psychiatric future. Here, we describe four such gaps: The evidence gap, the inequality gap, the prediction-intervention gap, and the safety gap.

Author Profiles

Phoebe Friesen
McGill University


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