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Why Telehealth is so Important for Mental Health

Mental illness has grown more common during the coronavirus pandemic. However, despite two years of managing the pandemic’s consequences, not every American has access to the behavioral health support they need.

Telehealth

    Facing the challenge

    America is on the brink of a mental health crisis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that, in 2021, more than one in ten Americans regularly struggle with their mental health. They experience feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and worry. Nearly 5% of adults struggle with depression. For children, the figures are similar. 

    According to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, only 48% received treatment in 2020. 

    How Telehealth Can Bridge the Gap in Mental Health Care Provision

    Millions of Americans live in so-called Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas. These parts of the country do not have enough mental health professionals to meet the demand for care. 

    In many cases, those are rural populations. Some of them were most affected by the pandemic. NAMI’s statistics show that 53% of rural adults reported adverse effects on their mental health over the past two years. 

    Like physical illnesses, mental and behavioral health disorders are treatable with the right level of care. Left untreated, however, something that started as a temporary challenge can soon develop into a severe condition that is sometimes even chronic. At that stage, mental and behavioral health problems become harder to treat and take longer to resolve. 

    Telehealth offers mental health professionals an alternative method to care for their patients. Telehealth can bring counselors and clients closer when access is limited geographically. Statistics show that mental health care providers significantly underserved rural areas of the United States. 

    Away from cities and suburbs, Americans have to travel twice as far to hospitals. They are also twice as likely to lack access to high-speed internet. While this may seem like a barrier to telehealth mental health service provision, it does not need to be. 

    Classic telehealth services are delivered through a screen, using an internet connection. But these counseling sessions can also be offered over the phone. It is how telehealth opens up the provision of mental health care to people in every corner of the country.

    Why Telehealth is More Than an Emergency Solution

    Throughout the pandemic, mental health professionals and their patients often had no alternative to meeting online. In-person counseling sessions were deemed too dangerous for the physical health of patients and counselors. Telehealth services provided an option to continue treatment. 

    Telehealthcare for mental and behavioral illnesses remains relevant and essential as the pandemic is receding. Two main reasons for its continued popularity are its many benefits and effectiveness. 

    Yale Medicine has found that adult and child mental health care providers have found telehealth sessions advantageous. While the researchers concede that not every person prefers to meet their counselor via a screen, most benefited from the sessions and happily adapted to using technology. 

    Telehealth mental health care makes it easy to access treatment and support. Some doctors have commented on how easy it is for their patients to schedule lunchtime appointments in a quiet room at work or even from their car. 

    Apart from increasing accessibility, telehealth can make it easier for patients to continue their treatment. Some choose to have initial in-person appointments but continue their follow-up sessions through telehealth. As a result, more patients can complete an entire course of treatment and not discontinue their treatment early because they struggle to attend appointments. 

    Telehealth Simplifies Access to Specialists

    While anxiety and depression continue to be America’s most common mental health conditions, other concerns may require access to specialist care. Telehealth can simplify those appointments. 

    Accessing specialist mental health care can be challenging in remote, rural areas due to distance, lack of transport, and the time involved in scheduling care. Telehealth mental healthcare provides more Americans with easier access to highly-qualified specialists they need. 

    Platforms like TrueCare24 have made it easy to search for and connect with the right specialist to support an individual’s needs. With a nationwide network of counselors joining one place, care access has already been simplified. Through telehealth, access has become even more accessible. 

    The platform makes it easy for patients or their families to find a specialist in the field they require. Through telehealth services, mental health patients are no longer limited by geography in their access to specialists. Instead, they can access the best care for their concern, no matter where they are. 

    Selecting a specialist through a platform also gives patients and their general physicians the peace of mind that their specialist has been carefully vetted. They save time researching and checking credentials and can instead focus all their energy on getting better. 

    Takeaways

    Telehealthcare may not be suitable for every person in every situation. However, by providing easy access to mental health care to a more significant number of Americans, this type of care can help relieve America’s mental health crisis. 

    Continued mental health problems severely affect a person’s quality of life and ability to perform at work or support their families. In the long term, chronic mental health problems can lead to physical health problems. In severe cases, they can even lead to suicide. 

    Telehealth mental health care has the potential to prevent many of those problems. 

    About TrueCare™

    TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.
    TrueCare24.com

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