Life as we know it has been forever changed.
Who would have thought that just a few months ago we would be introduced to terms like “social distancing” and slogans such as “Do your part, Stay Apart” when the need for social connection is one of the foundations of our society?
Another term that has been introduced to the masses, although it is not a new concept, is telemedicine – the ability to see a provider (doctors, nurses or other clinicians) using phone, video or email capabilities. The increased and widespread use of telemedicine allowed us to continue to receive medical care during the crisis even if it was via a means that we weren’t accustomed to.
With the number of people diagnosed with mental illness on the rise, the need for inexpensive and convenient mental and behavioral health care must be addressed in the short term.
With slogans encouraging us to “Stop the Spread” and pleads to maintain social distancing, what do we do about those people with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety? A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that roughly half (45%) of adults in the U.S. with mental illness have been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. So, What role does teletherapy play when it comes to mental health?
Parallel to telemedicine is teletherapy which gives people the option of seeking help via phone, email, videoconferencing and even text messaging and studies have shown that for certain conditions teletherapy is just a good as in-person therapy.
So, what are the benefits of teletherapy?
Lower costs – As it stands therapy can be very expensive, ranging from $90-160 per session if you are uninsured or if your insurance does not cover them. With teletherapy a lot of the overhead costs are gone, allowing for less expensive per session costs.
A sense of privacy – Having to sit in a waiting room for a mental health appointment is uncomfortable for some people. By using teletherapy, clients can be seen from the privacy of home, alleviating some of those concerns.
Increased satisfaction – Most people who use teletherapy report that they are satisfied with their treatment.
Better access to mental health care – With teletherapy, the therapists become more accessible to the clients despite being in a remote location, or if they have physical disabilities or transportation issues.
Decreased exposure to other people – With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking for ways to decrease the unnecessary interaction with others.Being able to speak with a therapist from home lessens the worry of those who may be concerned of getting ill.
With the number of people diagnosed with mental illness on the rise, the need for inexpensive and convenient mental and behavioral health care must be addressed in the short term. The one silver lining (if there is one) of the COVID-19 pandemic is that telemedicine and teletherapy has been pushed to the forefront as a reliable and accessible means to get quality medical, behavioral and mental health care. With a multitude of benefits and very few limitations, we will find that teletherapy will emerge as a much-needed addition to our current options for mental health care.
With myURGENCYMD we give access to unlimited teletherapy sessions for only $24.95 per month with Masters Level counselors and therapists. Visit our website: myurgencymd.com for more information.
Dorsha James, MD, is a 15-year veteran emergency medicine physician in the Nashville, TN area. She now serves as the CEO and chief medical officer for her company myURGENCYMD. myURGENCYMD is a national telemedicine company that provides members with access to 24-hour, seven-day-a-week virtual consultations with a board-certified physician to discuss non-emergency conditions. She enjoys empowering patients by helping them understand how to properly utilize the many avenues for the treatment of medical conditions to obtain optimal health. To learn more about the company, visit www.myurgencymd.com