Telehealth services can be a great tool for patients seeking care, especially when they are unable to (or would prefer not to) see a mental health professional in person.
In this day and age, technology has created a lot of strife regarding its effect on mental health, but there is an upside. Telehealth delivers virtual counseling and mental healthcare services for those who need it most, when they need it most, and most importantly — where they need it most.
There are a wide variety of innovative technologies that have made this possible, including:
- Online resources
- Store-and-forward imaging
- Streaming media
- Terrestrial communications
- Wireless communications
One in every five adults in the United States is diagnosed with a mental health disorder every single year. This number continues to rise, not because mental health disorders are becoming increasingly common, but because more and more people are discovering the benefits of mental health services. It’s through this discovery that individuals are breaking from the stigmas of yesterday and exploring the treatments of today.
Unfortunately, even with the great strides that the mental health field has made, over half of Americans that are diagnosed with a mental health condition do not receive proper treatment. One of the many ways we’ve seen this issue tackled is with telehealth and teletherapy services.
What Makes Telehealth a Sound Option?
There are many benefits associated with telehealth and teletherapy services, especially for individuals that have difficulty leaving the house or who live in more rural areas.
Accessibility is huge, especially for mental healthcare — and telehealth services open up new doors for individuals struggling with mental health to receive adequate care when they need it most.
Perhaps you’ve gotten up in the morning on the day of your appointment, and you decided it was too much to make the trip. Maybe in-person communication puts too much pressure on you during your session. Or, a 9-5 schedule may make mental health appointments nearly impossible for you. Whatever the reason, telehealth provides convenience and accessibility for all who need it.
It’s no surprise that telehealth technology and accessibility provide incredible flexibility. What’s best is that this flexibility goes both ways, in which the patient and the mental health professional are no longer confined to work hours in order to reach their goals.
Alternative to In-Person
While most mental health sessions can help alleviate some stress and anxiety-related issues, for some, the idea of an in-person session can be daunting at times. Telehealth relieves that environment by allowing and individuals to get the care they need on their own terms — and where they feel most comfortable. Whether it’s at home, in the car — you name it. As long as there is an internet (or phone) connection, depending on the type of telehealth technology that is being used, it’s the patient’s world.
Same Success, Different Method
There has been a wide range of studies conducted on the effectiveness of telehealth services — and the results are promising. One such study found that by comparing in-person consultations and teletherapy, there was a 96% satisfaction rate among the online session participants. John Hopkins conducted yet another study that discovered individuals who were enrolled in the telehealth program were less likely to be hospitalized due to their mental health conditions.
These are promising results and should give peace of mind to individuals who need mental health services but are unsure about the possible outcomes.
What Types of Mental Health Services are a Part of Telehealth?
The answer to this is — mostly all of them. Depending on the counseling provider you’re working with, there will likely be a wide range of online mental health counseling and psychiatry services available through telehealth technologies.
Some services may include:
- Counseling and therapy
- Medication management
- Targeted case management
By utilizing the innovations at hand, mental healthcare professionals can be resourceful and aid those in need in a convenient way. You can
Tips for Your First Telehealth Appointment
Change is always tricky, and making the switch from in-person sessions to a telehealth appointment may make some individuals uneasy. Or perhaps, it’s your very first mental health appointment, and you’re interested in figuring out what to expect. We’re going to break down some helpful tips and expectations regarding your very first telehealth appointment.
Setting the Scene
Telehealth appointments thrive on communication, and to get the most out of your experience, you’ll want to be in an environment that fosters a successful online session.
Choose a fairly well-lit area so that you’re able to be seen. Try your best not to have any light sources directly behind you because it will make your picture hard to be seen.
If possible, try not to be somewhere too noisy. Obviously, not everyone has a completely silent space they can take advantage of, but try to pick the one that feels most comfortable. The better your mental health professional can hear you — the better your session will be.
Last but not least is privacy, again, not something we’re all blessed to have. However, if possible, try to use the bedroom or even your bathroom if that’s the only house with privacy. This is perhaps the most important tip we can give. Your confidentiality and comfort while speaking openly and honestly is important.
Some Tech Talk
On top of this list is an internet connection, and it’s essential. However, there are a few browsers, internet connectivity, and additional tips that can help make for a successful session.
- Install or update to the latest version of Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox before your first session
- Test your internet connection speed by searching “Internet Speed Test” into your browser (minimum download speed of 512Kbps and a minimum upload speed of 128 Kbps)
- Close any additional windows or background applications to get the most out of your internet connection
These tips should help create the best environment possible for your online therapy session.
Get the Help You Need
No matter what, your mental health is important. Whether you’re unable to get out of bed or your current circumstances prevent you from seeing a mental health professional face-to-face — you have options with telehealth and teletherapy.
Get the care you deserve through your desktop or mobile device so that you can move forward.