a male client consulting if he is a Good Candidate for Telehealth Mental Health Treatment

If you’re looking for mental health treatment, accessibility is likely one of the largest barriers to treatment. That’s true whether time, transportation, or other responsibilities are your barrier. Switching to virtual mental health treatment or “telehealth” means that you can log into your computer or phone to talk to your therapist via a video call from the safety of your home. That’s ideal for many people and means that you can receive cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling without taking the time or expense to go to a therapist’s office. However, it’s not right for everyone.

This article will discuss how telehealth impacts your treatment, so you have more information to make the right decisions for your treatment.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth, telemedicine, telepsychiatry, virtual mental healthcare, etc., is the simple process of using video calls and calls to virtualize mental health treatment. This means you talk to your therapist or even your therapy group with an electronic device and a camera rather than meeting them face-to-face. In many cases, telehealth is a mix of face-to-face meetings interspersed with video calls. In other cases, they’re entirely limited to video calls, and you’ll never meet your therapist in person. In every case, they’re strictly regulated by guidelines to ensure your security and privacy.

Is Virtual Mental Health Treatment Effective?

Telehealth mental health treatment is relatively new. In fact, it was mostly not done until the last decade and didn’t become popular until the COVID19 pandemic. Today, it’s been extensively tested for efficacy for anxiety, depression, and has been found as effective as face-to-face treatment in many cases.

Telehealth mental health treatment is largely shown as an effective alternative to face-to-face treatment. It ensures a faster, cheaper, and more convenient alternative to traditional mental health – while offering a similar level of care for most people.

And, one study by the Department of Veterans Affairs showed that receiving telehealth mental health treatment reduced hospitalization by 25% over not having treatment at all.

Who is a Good Candidate for Telehealth Mental Health?

Not everyone is a great candidate for telehealth. However, there are lot of reasons you might be. In most cases, you have to be self-motivated, able to commit time, and to have the resources to do so.

  • You’re under the age of 50 or are very adept with technology. Technology barriers decrease the efficacy of treatment.
  • You have a good internet connection. Low quality connections can decrease the efficacy of treatment.
  • You have a quiet space where you can call without interruptions or noise
  • You have time in the hours of the day that you will be called
  • You’re motivated to participate in treatment. Lack of upfront motivation results in a higher dropout rate.
  • You are self-disciplined and can do homework yourself, without supervision. You have to be able to take an active role in your treatment.

In most cases, people with significantly disabling mental health disorders are recommended into in—person treatment first. Face-to-face sessions means your therapist can get a better understanding of how you’re doing, they’ll be able to react more quickly, and you’ll get more support. For that reason, a stay at a mental health center followed by telehealth may be a better idea if you have a severe mental health disorder.

Otherwise, telehealth mental health treatment may be a great idea for you.

How Does Telehealth Change Treatment?

Online mental health treatment is delivered over a video call, which you can participate in from your phone, tablet, or computer. In most cases you’ll need a camera, a good microphone, and a good headset. In some cases, these may be provided as part of your treatment in other cases you’ll have to get them yourself. You’ll also need a good quality internet connection.

However, telehealth also has several other barriers. For example:

  • You’re calling someone, so you don’t have the connection of a physical presence and you’ll have a harder time connecting via body language. Your therapist will also have a harder time reading your mood and reactions and therefore responding appropriately or staving off panic if things get difficult.
  • You’ll have to work harder to connect with your therapist.
  • You might experience disruptions because of Internet of the calling service
  • You might pay less attention to cues from your therapist or might be more prone to distraction
  • You’ll need more self-discipline

Luckily, most of these issues are relatively easily overcome. Most of them will go away within the first few sessions, which means that you can relatively easily move past any barriers posed by telehealth.

a male client during his Tele Mental Health Treatment

Benefits of Tele Mental Health Treatment

There are a lot of reasons why you’d want online mental health treatment. For example, it can offer accessibility, can reduce costs, and can even make it possible for you to go if you have trouble leaving your home or with transportation. In fact, telehealth means that anyone with an internet or mobile data connection can easily get mental health services. And that can be lifesaving.

  • Increased accessibility to treatment. You’ll need internet access and a properly equipped device. Otherwise, you can go from anywhere.
  • Reduced time and cost to travel to sessions. This is especially important for those who are disabled or who are relying on others for transport, as it makes mental health accessible without relying on others.
  • Access to mental health treatment in a space where you feel safe
  • Reduced cost of treatment, no need to pay for travel costs, no need to take time off work or pay for childcare, etc.
  • Reduced time investment per session (no travel, no wait times)
  • Increased privacy

There are also many reasons why you might want to seek out in-person treatment. However, you can talk to your doctor or therapist about which is right for you. And, you might get other benefits from a telehealth treatment option as well – like being able to access mental health support at more hours of the day, being able to travel for work without skipping sessions, etc.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is struggling, telehealth mental healthcare is an increasingly popular option. That’s true even if it’s possible for you to go into sessions. Why? It reduces costs, wait times, and resources you need to get treatment. It also means you can more easily get the help you need without it being a big part of your day. That makes it sustainable to have more sessions more often. Eventually, however, it’s important to talk with your therapist to request a recommendation and help moving into the right treatment program. You might be recommended into an in-person treatment option. However, chances are high that telehealth can provide a high quality, effective, and accessible alternative. If you meet the specifications and match as a good candidate, you can also ask your mental healthcare provider about telehealth sessions.

If you or a loved one needs help with mental health treatmentdrug rehab, or alcohol rehab Compassion Recovery Center is here to help. Contact us to ask about our modern and effective treatment programs.