Social distancing has turned many of the “normal” ways of doing things right on their head, including how people seek treatment for mental health issues. What might have previously been conducted in an office has now moved to the digital space—and that’s good news for those in need of mental health care while staying safe in their homes.
Telehealth services for mental health are nothing new, but they are gaining a lot of awareness amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Effective counseling via video conferencing, online chat, or a phone call is serving as a lifeline for those in need of mental health support, providing the exact same treatment without the physical proximity. And even better, telehealth is no passing trend.
Aside from those struggling during the pandemic, mental and behavioral telehealth continues—and will continue—to serve key populations across the United States. Here are three of the major groups that benefit from this unique service.
Individuals in Remote Locations
Those living in rural, remote, or overseas locations have long had a difficult time accessing professional mental health care.
Despite the fact that one in five of U.S. adults will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, rural Americans—which account for about 20% of the population—have little access to professional mental health service providers. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 65% of non-metropolitan areas lack a psychiatrist, and 47% lack a psychologist, which means millions of Americans are without the option of seeking convenient mental or behavioral health care.
This issue is similar for those in other types of remote areas, as well as Americans living abroad. In all instances, access to mental and behavioral telemedicine can fill in the gaps, providing one-on-one support in areas where there are simply no other options.
Those With Severe Anxiety
Using telemedicine for mental health has long been a practice among those with severe anxiety disorders, as well as those with autism spectrum disorders. These groups have a much easier time showing up to online therapy appointments since in addition to being able to stay at home they also have the physical distance of a computer or phone screen.
People Who Are Unable to Be Present During Traditional Hours
Telehealth mental counseling is very useful for people who work unconventional hours, can’t leave their home for some reason, or are otherwise extremely busy. These reasons are often used as explanations for why someone is unable to seek treatment or stand as a mental barrier in the way of taking that first step. Telemedicine is an effective solution since the commitment is smaller and easier to work into the day.
We’re here to help—even virtually. If you or a loved one is in need of mental health care, reach out to our team at Synergy Health Programs to talk to a professional, and learn about our telehealth services.