Untreated mental illness is a crisis in the United States. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) Over 20% of adults in the country have a mental illness, but only around 45% of those receive behavioral healthcare (2019). The lack of local access to mental health services, cost of treatment, societal stigma, and other factors contribute to the widespread inability to get treatment. Telehealthcare removes obstacles to receiving mental health care. Virtual therapy sessions are enabling more and more people with mental health issues to succeed in their lives.
Suffering Without Mental Health Treatment
People with untreated mental illness often suffer from social isolation, loss of key relationships, and difficulty maintaining employment. In addition to their loss of human connections, there are numerous potential comorbidities with mental illness. These can include sleep disorders, depression, drug or alcohol addiction, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, and others.
How Can Telemedicine Support Mental Health?
More Available Therapists
Using telemedicine to deliver mental health care can help reduce the current shortage of mental health treatment providers. From licensed therapists to psychiatrists, mental health care specialists’ availability is decreasing throughout the country. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services research predicts that there will be an increasing shortage of mental health care providers over the coming years. The DHHS predicts that shortages will become severe in multiple areas of services by 2025. With the ability to provide care by telehealth appointment, healthcare professionals can more effectively maximize availability.
Ease of Treatment Access
Meeting with the therapist remotely, instead of being required to drive to the medical office eliminates the burden of commuting to therapy. This can enable busy parents, rural patients, overworked professionals, small business sole proprietors, handicapped patients, elderly people, patients without vehicles, and others to attend therapy.
More Cost-Efficient Treatment
Virtual care can be expected to be more cost-effective for providers and patients. Paying for teletherapy, vs. treatment at a medical office or emergency room can be more affordable for uninsured patients and those who have exceeded their maximum insurance benefits for mental health care. Plus, transportation, child care, lost work, and other costs for treatment are eliminated.
More Consistent Treatment
For many people who need mental health treatment, their personal circumstances are unstable, leading to disruptions of their mental health care routines. For example, they may struggle with job losses, financial distress, eviction, unexpected relocation, broken primary relationships, and other shocks to their mental health care routine. With virtual treatment sessions, the patient can more easily continue with a therapist, even when their personal circumstances change.
Less Stressful to Dual-Diagnosed Patients
People with comorbidities account for a staggering 70% of all patients of behavioral healthcare providers. Patients requiring multiple forms of medical treatment like addiction and combined therapies are met with special challenges. They must cope with multiple health conditions simultaneously and meet more intensive attendance demands if they want to receive all the treatment they need. Virtual treatment sessions make it possible for them to receive more therapy with less physically demanding attendance.
Helps Therapists Develop Deeper Insights
Mental healthcare providers can naturally develop deeper insights into patients’ problems and solutions when they can meet with them virtually in their homes. Spending time in the patient’s personal environment allows the therapist to observe their habits of self-care, their living environment, family dynamics, and other helpful diagnostic and treatment information.
Ease of Professional Collaboration
Telecom innovations have made collaboration between mental healthcare providers and relevant specialists much more accessible, for more robust programs of ongoing engagement. This means care providers are no longer relatively isolated from others during treatment. They can now work with other clinicians via virtual sessions, to deliver comprehensive treatment. This approach can reduce the need for hospitalization and enable care providers to manage mental illness, stabilize patients and help prevent escalation of crises that lead to inpatient admissions.
More Conducive to Patient Bonding
Receiving mental health care inside the comforting surroundings of their own home can help many patients feel more secure and less apprehensive and self-protective. It can allow them to feel freer to connect at a deeper level of trust and be more open to productive teamwork with their mental health care providers.
Alleviates Worries About Stigma
Receiving therapy via telemedicine technology helps reduce the fear of the stigma of mental illness that is common for people with anxiety about being discovered entering a mental health treatment center. That fear causes many patients to avoid seeking the care they need. Telemedicine allows them to utilize mental health services privately, in their own home.
Enables Remote Addiction Treatment
Telemedicine is proving effective in providing broader treatment for people afflicted with opioids, methamphetamine, alcohol, and other addictions. Drug and alcohol addiction have become vast national crises in the United States. The problems are as rampant in rural areas as in urban neighborhoods, but the majority of addiction treatment facilities are in or near cities. Treatment sessions via virtual meeting technology can enable people to receive addiction treatment wherever they live.
Makes Treatment More Affordable
For women with children, allocating funds for childcare in order to attend therapy is cost-prohibitive. For students and other young people struggling with severely limited finances, senior citizens on a fixed income, and low-income patients, telemedicine makes therapy affordable for more people.
The Telemedical Mental Health Treatment Solution
The U.S. healthcare system has been challenged for a long time to meet the country’s ever-increasing needs for access to behavioral healthcare. In fact, insufficient access to mental health treatment has become a serious deficiency in the overall healthcare system over the past decade.
Naturally, telehealth services cannot be expected to resolve all treatment issues for all patients who need help with issues of mental illness. However, advanced technology can accomplish an extraordinary amount of improvement in the system, by helping people connect to the essential mental health resources for living healthier lives.
Pathways Real Life Recovery, Sandy Utah
We are a mental health counseling and addiction recovery treatment center in Sandy, Utah. We help people overcome depression and all kinds of addiction. Our Medical Doctors (MD), Addiction Recovery Specialists, EMDR (Trauma) professionals, and other mental health treatment providers collaborate to create a personalized therapy program for each client.
Every member of our professional staff is available 24/7, so when you call, you will never reach a recording; you’ll talk with a therapist!