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BACKGROUND: Worldwide uptake of telepsychiatry accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. OBJECTIVE: To conduct an evaluation of the opinions, preferences and attitudes to telepsychiatry from service users, carers and clinicians in order to understand how telepsychiatry can be best used in the peri/post-COVID-19 era. METHODS: This mixed-methods, multicentre, international study of telepsychiatry was set in two sites in England and two in Italy. Survey questionnaires and focus group topic guides were co-produced for each participant group (service users, carers and clinicians). FINDINGS: In the UK, 906 service users, 117 carers and 483 clinicians, and in Italy, 164 service users, 56 carers and 72 clinicians completed the surveys. In all, 17 service users/carers and 14 clinicians participated in focus groups. Overall, telepsychiatry was seen as convenient in follow-ups with a specific purpose such as medication reviews; however, it was perceived as less effective for establishing a therapeutic relationship or for assessing acutely disturbed mental states. In contrast to clinicians, most service users and carers indicated that telepsychiatry had not improved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most service users and carers reported that the choice of appointment modality was most often determined by the service or clinician. CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: There were circumstances in which telepsychiatry was seen as more suitable than others and clear differences in clinician, carer and service user perspectives on telepsychiatry. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: All stakeholders should be actively engaged in determining a hybrid model of care according to clinical features and service user and carer preferences. Clinicians should be engaged in training programmes on telepsychiatry.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Ment Health

Publication Date





Adult psychiatry, COVID-19, Humans, Caregivers, Psychiatry, Pandemics, COVID-19, Telemedicine