Telehealth: Another Mental Health Solution
You may have heard of telehealth – virtual visits with a health care provider. Telehealth is convenient, improves appointment availability, and can lower healthcare costs. But did you know that more mental health providers are offering virtual visits, too? If you’re thinking about seeing a therapist for mental health support, maybe you should consider a provider who offers telemental health visits.
What is Telemental health, and What are the Benefits?
Telemental health is the use of telecommunications or videoconferencing technology to provide mental health services. While telehealth has been in use since the 1950s, recent improvements in technology, coupled with need and lack of access due to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous growth over the last few years. Research shows that virtual therapy is safe and effective. Some of the other benefits of telemental health include:
- Privacy. Because you don’t have to go to the therapist’s office, there is no chance you will be seen by someone else.
- Convenience. With telemental health, you don’t have to allow time to get to and from the therapist’s office. There’s no traffic jam or bad weather to make you late for your appointment.
- Accessibility. Certain mental or physical conditions can make it hard for people to leave their homes or be in an unfamiliar space. Telemental health can make it possible to get the therapy they need in an environment where they’re safe and comfortable.
- Availability. Telemental health allows people to see the therapist who meets their needs, regardless of where they live. Many communities – especially in rural areas – have a limited number of therapists available. Telemental health can help people see the therapist they feel most comfortable with, even if that therapist is many miles away.
- Wait Time. Because the pool of therapists to choose from is larger with telemental health, wait time to get an appointment is often less than it would otherwise be.
What Should I Expect?
When you schedule a telemental health visit, you will be given a secure link to a meeting venue, like Zoom. Only you and your provider will have the link, and any recording features will be disabled. You should go into a quiet, private space that is free of distractions, and arrive on time for your appointment. Often, providers have you arrive in a virtual “waiting room” and admit you at the appointment time. It’s ok to have things around you that make you comfortable – a warm blanket, a mug of coffee or tea. In fact, feeling comfortable might make talking with your therapist easier. After that, the therapy process proceeds as it would for an in-person visit.
Your EAP Can Help
If you’re thinking that telehealth therapy might be the right solution for you, contact your EAP. We can refer you to a therapist who can help at no cost to you.