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Telehealth for Mental Health Treatment

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As the healthcare climate drastically changes thanks to major strides in technology, the COVID-19 pandemic, and patient preferences, telehealth has quickly become the new frontier for doctors and patients to communicate effectively and receive care.

Telehealth services allow healthcare providers to provide care for patients without an in-office visit. The majority of telehealth appointments occur primarily on video chat, via phone, or by sending and receiving messages through a secure platform.

You may be wondering how telehealth can work for mental health services.

Many therapists and mental health providers offer telehealth services to their patients, using the same therapy modalities they would in a face-to-face visit.

Mental health treatment via virtual visits is just as effective as it is in a traditional setting. It is worth exploring for those who need immediate care or that struggle to attend in-person appointments.

Person talking on video call with her psychotherapist doctor after online therapy sessions, happy that she is well and mentally health now after telemedicine conversations with the providers at Clear Behavioral Health

Telehealth for Mental Health Care

Because mental illness is on the rise, the need for better care options for individuals of varying health conditions is essential.

One in five adults in the United States alone has reported an unmet need in terms of mental health care. Along with the rising opioid epidemic in this country, mental health resources must be readily available, particularly in rural and remote areas where addiction is more common and finding adequate care is more challenging.

Telehealth works to reduce the stigma associated with seeking therapy for a mental health condition. Many individuals avoid in-person services because they don’t want to feel the shame or embarrassment often associated with seeing a therapist.

Private, in-home therapy sessions reduce the stigma around mental health by providing patients access to a safe space to seek care through technology.

The Benefits of Telehealth

The benefits of telehealth for individuals with mental health concerns are among the most significant ways that telehealth can positively impact communities around the country.

While it’s convenient to seek care from a primary care physician over the phone rather than in-person appointments, access to mental health using digital tools can change the lives of many individuals struggling.

Here are a few benefits of telehealth services for mental health conditions.

1. Accessibility

The emergence of telehealth services has widely expanded the treatment access that patients can receive. Because therapy can be just as effective in a virtual care setting as it can be in person, providers can offer telehealth visits to a larger audience in many states rather than only in their local area.

For patients living in rural communities needing transportation for treatment, care is much easier to access as a telehealth appointment.

Additionally, for states or regions that don’t have adequate mental health care teams, many geographic limitations have been lifted so individuals can receive care from mental health professionals outside of their area.

2. Cost-Effective & Time-Saving

Telehealth services can be the perfect solution for those who can’t leave their job for a therapy appointment or don’t have the funds to travel long distances to see a therapist for an in-person visit.

Patients still receive the same level of support and care without missing work, finding someone to watch their children, arranging transportation, or driving long distances to speak with a therapist.

3. Diagnosis is Possible in Virtual Care

Research shows that diagnosis and treatment are possible in a virtual care setting. As more patients needed access to therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth options became more readily available with the same quality of care received.

This means that providers can diagnose their clients and begin a treatment plan without ever needing an in-person appointment.

In traditional settings, patients may wait several weeks to schedule an appointment with a therapist in their network that is a reasonable distance from where they live. Prolonging care and diagnosis can worsen the symptoms of a mental health condition, no matter how severe. With telehealth services, patients don’t have to wait for an in-person visit to receive a diagnosis.

4. Effective at Getting Desired Results

Research as early as 2013 shows that telemental health services are just as effective as in-person services for patients.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth services have seen a massive increase in demand and usage. It’s effective at reducing barriers for people who can’t otherwise seek treatment and instead go untreated, continue to struggle, and experience worsening conditions and health.

5. Convenience

For patients who need care immediately, telehealth services are extremely valuable. Virtual visits can be held when a patient is on their lunch break, in a private room at home, or in any other setting where they feel comfortable.

Many providers strive to improve access for their patients so they will continue to pursue therapy. Since they don’t have to leave their homes and are able to have a flexible schedule with their doctor, the motivation to continue treatment increases.

Mental health professionals can easily communicate with their patients, discuss coping techniques, and share resources and other information as they see fit. They don’t have to wait for a patient to come in for an in-person appointment to provide treatment and other resources as needed.

From avoiding travel to booking same-day appointments, the convenience of telehealth treatment is undeniable.

6. Ideal for Physical & Social Limitations

Individuals who have physical limitations and can’t leave their homes easily or without help can benefit greatly from telehealth.

Telehealth services are also helpful for those with social anxiety, OCD, and mood disorders who struggle to leave home, use public transportation, or wait for in-person visits with a therapist.

The Drawbacks of Telehealth

As the healthcare industry changes dramatically, there are growing pains associated with telehealth that create some drawbacks worth noting.

1. Security

Personal health data that is transmitted electronically always presents a security issue. Data breaches do happen with online platforms that store users’ personal information.

Many healthcare providers use secure platforms that provide their patients with the peace of mind that their personal data and information are safe. As telehealth services become more prevalent, providers’ secure platforms are a top priority.

2. Insurance Coverage

Although many insurance providers offer coverage for telehealth services, not every company does. This can lead to out-of-pocket costs for care. Check your insurance policy before selecting a mental health provider to ensure you can get the treatment options you want.

Clear Behavioral Health is in network with most major insurance companies and offers treatment for a full range of mental health needs.

3. Lack of Access in Some Communities

For patients in some communities, including rural areas and high-poverty areas, behavioral health services are not as accessible via online methods. Patients in these areas and communities may not have adequate technology access or internet connection to receive care in this format.

person talking on Zoom with her therapist at Clear Behavioral Health

Which Mental Health Conditions Can Be Treated via Telehealth?

The behavioral health services that can be provided via telehealth are abundant and just as effective as in-person treatment. Here are the conditions and mental health services that can be accessed via telehealth.

Depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, OCD, PTSD, panic disorders, and psychotic disorders are the primary mental health conditions that can be successfully treated via telehealth visits and in-person visits.

Both individual therapy and group therapy behavioral health care formats can be done via telehealth. Those with mental health needs who struggle with isolation can benefit from virtual group therapy.

Access Mental Health Services from Home with the Clear Recovery Virtual Program.

Clear Behavioral Health employs evidence-based therapies and holistic approaches for a truly integrative approach to their virtual intensive outpatient program. We offer a virtual IOP focusing exclusively on mental health concerns: the Clear Behavioral Health Virtual Program.

If you or someone in your life needs online therapy options, call Clear Recovery Virtual Program now. Our virtual telehealth mental health treatment programs provide a range of individual and group therapy sessions. Reach us now at 866.885.1449 to learn more about the benefits of telehealth at Clear Recovery Virtual Program and start therapy today.

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