There is an enormous gap in human resources for mental health and psychosocial support at a global level. The ramifications of this gap are magnified in situations of armed conflict, natural disasters and other emergencies, where needs intensify and health systems are overwhelmed. Accordingly, there is a need for low-threshold but efficient services that can reach more people affected in the most cost-effective way possible.
In such contexts in which resources are scarce, access is limited, and gaps in service provision are high, digital psychological and psychosocial support services – thanks to the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and the many technologies related to the Internet, open up new ways of connecting with people in need and represent an alternative or supplement to conventional face-to-face services.
The potential of using the internet and digital services has remained promising over the past decades. 95% of the world’s population are within the range of a broadband network1. A total number of 5.1 billion people are actively using the internet all over the world. There are 4.6 billion social media users worldwide in 2022, which represented approximately half of the world’s population2.
Initiatives like the GSM Association are aiming to accelerate access to people in humanitarian crises, women or people with disabilities. Even though there is a gender gap to note, in low- and middle-income countries 84% of women own a mobile phone3.