Can You Use Telemedicine for Mental Health Treatment?
Over the past couple of decades, there have been significant innovations in the field of mental health treatment and healthcare as a whole. A great example of that innovation is the emergence of telemedicine for mental health. Telemedicine has allowed for accessibility to patients who may not otherwise get crucial mental health services. Importantly, telemedicine has been a priceless link between mental health professionals and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This article will look further into telemedicine for mental health treatment. You will learn what telemedicine is, its benefits, drawbacks, and most importantly, where you can find telemedicine services. If you are struggling with mental illness and wonder if telemedicine would be beneficial, call Compassion Mental Health toll-free.
What is Telemedicine?
Simply defined, telemedicine is the practice of medicine that uses technology to deliver essential care at a distance. Commonly known in mental health applications as telepsychiatry, this treatment allows doctors and patients to communicate via computer. In a mental health setting, telemedicine provides services including psychiatric evaluations, therapy, patient education, and medication management. Telepsychiatry is widely used for patients who live in rural or remote areas or in places where there are limited treatment options. This practice is also commonly used amongst health professionals themselves to consult with each other.
In What Ways Can Telemedicine Used in Mental Health?
There are a variety of ways telehealth can be implemented to best suit the patient. One of the oldest ways of using telemedicine in mental health is via telephone communication. In some areas, telephone communications are still being used as part of a continuing care or aftercare plan. Perhaps the most common form of telemedicine in mental health treatment is video conferencing through personal computers or dedicated telecommunications equipment. With the growing popularity of phone apps, there are some treatment facilities have developed specific apps for patients to utilize on their smartphones or tablets.
What Are the Advantages of Telepsychiatry?
The utilization of telepsychiatry has several advantages that provide tremendous benefits. First and foremost, it is of great benefit for clients who live in rural areas where treatment options are limited. Also, telemedicine can be of benefit for those who may be homebound and are unable to make it into a drug treatment facility. Additionally, telepsychiatry may be a great help to those who are physically disabled and may not have the means to get to a mental health clinic.
According to the American Psychiatry Association, additional benefits include the following:
- Help integrate behavioral health care and primary care, leading to better outcomes
- Reduce the need for trips to the emergency room
- Reduce delays in care
- Improve continuity of care and follow-up
- Reduce the need for time off work, childcare services, etc. to access appointments far away
- Reduce the barrier of stigma
What are the Drawbacks to Telehealth for Mental Health Treatment?
When used for mental health treatment, telehealth can be an effective tool. However, there are also some drawbacks that can make this treatment option a less than ideal option:
- Performing telemedicine services may require special equipment, and that can be a large investment that some people may not be able to afford.
- These services may not be available for all treatment facilities, and there may be professionals who may not be comfortable with telemedicine counseling.
- Some patients may not be technically savvy and may have difficulty using this technology.
Mental illness is a complex condition, and, in some cases, telemedicine may not be the proper channel for diagnosis and treatment. There may be instances where mental health professionals would be unable to order tests or conduct further assessments for the simple fact that the patient is not physically present. Ultimately, telemedicine lacks person-to-person interaction. As a result, this practice is very isolating and can drive the patient further away from the help they need.
Is Telehealth the Right Option for You?
Telehealth for mental health treatment is an emerging and dynamic treatment option. If you or a loved one need mental health services and have a question on telepsychiatry, call Compassion Mental Health today. Since 2017, we have provided telepsychiatry services to our patients. Our telehealth program offers psychiatric assessments, therapy, counseling, and medication management through secure videoconferencing.
Our telepsychiatry services are available to adults, children, and adolescents and can help you address a wide variety of mental disorders, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Depressive disorders
- Family issues
- Bipolar disorder
- Grief and loss
- Anger management
Call Compassion Mental Health right now and speak to one of our dedicated staff members. Start living our best life with the help of telemedicine for mental health.