Background: Access to internet-enabled technology and Web-based services has grown exponentially in recent decades. This growth potentially excludes some communities and individuals with mental health difficulties, who face a heightened risk of digital exclusion. However, it is unclear what factors may contribute to digital exclusion in this population. Objective: To explore in detail the problems of digital exclusion in mental health service users and potential facilitators to overcome them. Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with 20 mental health service users who were deemed digitally excluded. We recruited the participants from a large secondary mental health provider in South London, United Kingdom. We employed thematic analysis to identify themes and subthemes relating to historical and extant reasons for digital exclusion and methods of overcoming it. Results: There were three major themes that appeared to maintain digital exclusion: a perceived lack of knowledge, being unable to access the necessary technology and services owing to personal circumstances, and the barriers presented by mental health difficulties. Specific facilitators for overcoming digital exclusion included intrinsic motivation and a personalized learning format that reflects the individual’s unique needs and preferences. Conclusions: Multiple factors contribute to digital exclusion among mental health service users, including material deprivation and mental health difficulties. This means that efforts to overcome digital exclusion must address the multiple deprivations individuals may face in the offline world in addition to their individual mental health needs. Additional facilitators include fostering an intrinsic motivation to overcome digital exclusion and providing a personalized learning format tailored to the individual’s knowledge gaps and preferred learning style.
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