Does the Telehealth Model for Mental Health Make Therapy More Accessible?

Telehealth Model for Mental Health
July 19, 2022
Author : Keith Morris

Recently, we witnessed the pandemic wreaking havoc globally. The world is still recovering from the COVID-19 crisis for the past few years. So, as the saying goes, crises are the opportunity to advance. Hence, innovations arrive to save the day from pandemic crises. Especially, the scarce mental health services are aligned through telemedicine.

Although the pandemic services are the need of the hour, what about mass anxiety or depression?

 “COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide”, reads the WHO report published in March 2022.

People are indeed suffering, and a phone call can be their saving grace. But, the question arises. Is it effective? Is telehealth services accessible to all? Read forth to know the answers to these questions and what the future holds for the telehealth model for mental health.

What Is Tele Psychiatry?

Furthermore, work from home is the new black, and you may thank the pandemic for this. Still, for some, it is peaceful - introverts - and others feel trapped. Regardless, some services can never halt - yes, even if the world is ending - as they are fundamentally the ones that keep the democracies and the world moving. Medicine is an epitome.

Telemedicine surged in the past few years. Still, remote healthcare is not a new concept. In fact, it dates back to the 1960s. NASA and the Nebraska Psychology Institute developed the first remote health care service fifty years ago. The uptake was slow for several reasons but mostly because of the circumstances.

Per Wikipedia, The Nebraska Psychiatric Institute provided telehealth services between 1957-59, providing mental health services and psychiatric training for students. It is half a century old already.

Moreover, Tele psychiatry is a sub-discipline under the telehealth model. It uses a telecommunications device like phone/video calls or video guides to offer mental health services to individuals. People get counselling from the comfort of their homes, which is especially useful for pandemic situations.

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Is it effective?

Additionally, a Tele counselling session is of various formats, from video conferencing to playing online games with the younger patients. Yes, it is actually accurate. A mental health counselling session incorporates various elements. Verbal conversations about random topics reduce the patient’s anxiety.

The counsellor pays attention to the nonverbal signs to detect the patient’s emotional state. Lastly, the real conversation about the patient’s mental health. The individual - children or adults - is often assigned tasks for the therapist to observe. Such tasks are very much important for assessment.

In tele therapy, doctors attest that young patients help them with zoom functions. It makes both parties feel involved.

Teens may refuse to talk much in person, but being more tech-savvy, they are eager to teach me Zoom functions. Also, some want to interact through chat as they feel inhibitive about saying things out loud. So, overall, tele therapy is highly effective for them compared to in-person sessions. Says Dr Lee from Yale Medicine.

Next, the convenience offered by the telehealth model for mental health is unprecedented. People can contact their therapists at the end of the day after work or from their car on the way to work. Such convenience is especially helpful for individuals suffering from elevated levels of anxiety and depression.

Impeding panic attacks or guidance through one is the best that tele therapy offers. Mental health is still taboo in many communities, and telehealth ensures privacy for such patients. In brief, the increase in the prevalence of mental health issues in the generation is the tip of the iceberg. Hence, telemedicine is the most effective resort.

What Are the Benefits of Telep therapy over In-person Therapy?

So, we discuss how telehealth services effectively address individuals' apparent issues. The pandemic is the primary factor why more and more people are turning to tele therapy. But, there are several reasons:

Expands Access

Telehealth services are more or less in the trend. From a mild cold to critical illness (making people unable to move actively), all kinds of diagnoses are easily available at your fingertips. Such convenience is slowly discarding the necessary hospital visit in aiding the aged or lone-term ill patients.

Time-efficient

Next, the telehealth model is effective for saving time. Busy professionals don’t get medical assistance. Small to intensive health issues (unless necessary) are ignored due to time constraints in their schedules. Such behaviour is dangerous in the long run. But, through telehealth services, you save time and get a check-up within your schedule.

Developing countries have one mental health professional per hundred thousand people. - Mental Health Atlas

Quality of care

The telehealth services comprise highly skilled professionals from leading medical institutions. Moreover, due to the popularity of such services, hospitals are introducing business models incorporating telehealth. You can be assured of the quality of services.

Cost-effective

With remote healthcare facilities, you can save up on expensive hospital bills. Also, due to the occasional or minimal need for physical assistance, the travel expenses are low.

Eases Stigma

Last but not least. Tele psychiatry is reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. Working professionals opt to get therapy with their schedule per their convenience. Previously, such sessions meant long breaks from work and other tribulations.

Is the Telehealth Model for Mental Health a Trend, or It Is Here to Stay?

Lastly, mental health experts predict that tele mental health services are here to stay for times to come. During the pandemic, telehealth services help people manifolds. People get help right from the safety of their homes and save on travel and save up on travel charges. It's a win-win situation, so people are choosing to stay.

Moreover, a better proof is the projection of telehealth services’ yearly turnover from seventy-nine million dollars in 2020 to over three hundred million dollars by 2027. The telehealth model isn’t going away anytime soon. Also, it is beneficial in many ways. Hopefully, you now know more about the telehealth model and its perks.

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About the Author

Keith Morris

Keith Morris

Keith Morris is a certified nurse who retired as a registered nurse after participating in a WHO campaign in Geneva. He is dedicated to helping students score good grades in their nursing courses and are offered a chance to help the people and establish a better healthcare community across the globe. He works as a nurse at a local clinic with underprivileged children and provides assignment guidance to the students. Reflection writing, aged care, Gibbs reflective cycle, cardiac nursing, pathophysiology, etc. are a few to name from his area of dominance.

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