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"You've got to take them seriously": meeting information needs in mental health care

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date03/2007
JournalHealth Informatics Journal
Number of pages9
Original languageEnglish


In this article we explore the practical aspects of providing mental health information over the telephone, and discuss how this may be used to inform the creation of a website. We draw from an ethnographic study of an `information and listening helpline'. By paying close attention to how the helpline operators `take seriously' their callers' problems and requests - indeed, by taking the work of the phone operators seriously - we show that the operators artfully talk, categorize and translate to help the individual caller and to satisfy organizational demands. A website is seen by the helpline in question as a logical move to providing accessible information to a wider audience. Whilst web-based and phone-based services might both appear to function along similar lines for providing information, we question how a web-based system might afford or complement the kinds of services that can be done over the telephone.