The impact of online group counselling programs on substance use, mental health, and physical health among adults: A systematic review protocol
Background: COVID-19 has resulted in an increased demand for online mental health services globally. There is emerging evidence for the efficacy for group online interventions that support population-based mental health, but a systematic review is lacking. The primary objective of this rapid systematic review is to summarize the evidence for online group counselling programs for adults. A second objective is to assess, within studies selected for our primary objective, the impact of online
... pact of online group counselling programs that encourage PA on outcomes compared to those that do not.Methods and Design: Randomized controlled trials that assess the impact of online group counselling programs on substance use, mental health, or physical health among community dwelling adults will be searched in MEDLINE, PsycInfo, CINHAL, and the Central Register of Controlled Trials. The review will be structured using PRISMA guidelines. Studies will be synthesized using the Cochrane Handbook and Synthesis Without Meta-Analysis (SWiM) reporting guideline. Quality will be evaluated using GRADE. Risk of bias will be assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool; with higher quality studies prioritized when drawing conclusions. The role of sex and gender will be considered as well as possible gender biases at all stages of the review.Discussion: This review will examine the effectiveness of online counselling programs that can be delivered to populations in a group format, and thus in a potentially cost-effective way. Findings will inform the decisions of governments, communities, and health care organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Systematic review registration: The protocol has been registered at the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO: CRD42020187551).