New publication – Measuring the digital divide among people with severe mental ill health using the essential digital skills framework

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Our Mental and Physical Multimorbidity theme asked 249 people with severe mental ill health (SMI) questions about their digital skills and digital access, using the Essential Digital Skills framework. Most people who took part in the study had Internet access and a device to connect with. However, when we asked about digital skills, we found that 42% of people with SMI did not have foundation digital skills. These are basic skills such as using passwords and device settings, and lacking these skills leads to digital exclusion. In the general population, 19% of people do not have these basic digital skills. Those who were more able to use the Internet were likely to be younger and have bipolar disorder rather than a psychosis-spectrum disorder. The three biggest barriers to Internet use were people not being interested in using the Internet, finding the Internet too difficult to use and security concerns. Our findings have implications for the provision of mental health services and supports.

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