The importance of telehealth in managing mental health in our ever-changing world.
Have you found yourself thinking about starting counseling but the thought of wearing a mask into a medical office is a little off-putting? Or maybe you have thought about doing counseling online but find it weird?
Now more than ever before, people are turning to telehealth as a way to support their physical and mental health. While the COVID-19 health pandemic is creating daily difficulties in our lives, we are finding ways to overcome many of them. For people living with a mental health diagnosis, one of these ways is teletherapy.
Teletherapy provides mental health practitioners a way to meet with their clients virtually in times when an in-person visit is not possible. This could be due to circumstances like what we now face, but there are many other reasons teletherapy is important.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health
It’s clear that the COVID-19 outbreak has had serious health implications on those who contracted the virus. The little-discussed side effect has been on the mental health of people across the country. Whether you were living with a mental health condition prior to the pandemic or not, many people’s mental health has been impacted significantly, especially here in Colorado Springs.
According to a national poll, almost half of Americans report that the COVID-19 crisis is negatively impacting their mental health. Another study found that the number of prescriptions filled per week for antidepressant, anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia medications increased more than 20 percent in the month following the announcement of the Coronavirus outbreak. Many mental health experts worry that the pandemic and consequent stay at home order have sparked an increase in suicide.
It’s clear that this health pandemic is harming the mental health of our country, not to mention those people working on the front lines.
What is teletherapy?
This is where teletherapy has become so critical to the mental health of people across the country. Teletherapy is a safe and effective way to meet with a mental health provider confidentially either by phone or a virtual meeting. Providers use protected platforms so that your confidentiality remains protected.
By meeting with your counselor virtually you have the opportunity to continue your ongoing treatment or begin treatment should you need the support of a professional. This means that you can get the help you need regardless of whether you can meet with your counselor. This could be due to stay at home orders or even just for people who cannot meet in a traditional office setting for a number of reasons.
Why might some people be wary of doing Teletherapy?
Some people may be a little wary of using online counseling. One big reason is fear that your information could be hacked. This is why teletherapy professionals use very safe platforms to ensure your online safety and confidentiality.
Other people fear that the rapport you feel in person with your therapist might not exist. What most people report is that within a very short period of their first appointment, they become very comfortable with the process.
One final thing that holds some people back from engaging in teletherapy is that they are afraid it isn’t as effective as in-person therapy. While this is something that many people might wonder, much research has shown that teletherapy is just as effective in treating most mental health conditions as in-person therapy.
The truth about Teletherapy
Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths about teletherapy.
Teletherapy Myth #1: Teletherapy Doesn’t Work
Truth: One all too common myth is that teletherapy isn’t going to work because you can’t sit with your therapist face-to-face. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. What many people find is that by being able to do their therapy sessions anywhere they want (including the comfort of their own home), they are more comfortable. If you are more comfortable it can likely make your treatment even more effective.
Teletherapy Myth #2: Teletherapy is New and Untested
Truth: While many people currently think that teletherapy was created out of the ashes of Coronavirus, the reality is that it’s been in use for more than 20 years!
While it has become more widely used in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been used to treat mental health conditions for people who could not reach an office. Reasons preventing in-office visits can include: lack of mobility, living in a more rural area, not having childcare, lacking access to transportation or even having a condition that limits leaving the home comfortably. The good news is that teletherapy has a long history of success in the mental health community.
Teletherapy Myth #3: It’s Hard to Find a Teletherapy Practitioner
Truth: One final myth is that finding a doctor who provides therapy virtually will be hard to find. It might be difficult to find a mental health professional who exclusively practices virtually, as many, many professionals see patients in their office and virtually.
To provide clients with the convenience and format they need, you can find providers that offer the option to be seen in person or through teletherapy. It’s important to find a telehealth therapist who has experience in this type of treatment so you know you are getting the best care possible. During COVID-19, many professionals have been forced to practice teletherapy albeit they struggle with the technology and comfort of an online platform. However, rest assured that there are also counselors who are not new to teletherapy and can provide you with quality care. This way you can safely and confidentially begin or continue your treatment.
Benefits of Teletherapy
There are a number of benefits to teletherapy. One obvious is that you can receive uninterrupted care in times of crisis like what we are currently experiencing. However, even outside of times of crisis, there are many benefits.
Teletherapy is Convenient
Having the ability to schedule your appointments around your schedule makes it a very convenient mode of treatment. There is no need to find care for your children, you don’t need to make a long trip or look for parking. You don’t even have to change out of your sweatpants if you don’t want to! Video counseling provides a tremendous amount of convenience while also ensuring that you get the care you need.
Teletherapy is Accessible
Teletherapy also makes treatment extremely accessible. If you have limits in your ability or desire to be in an office you don’t have to worry. No matter what limitations you might be experiencing, none of them have to stand in the way of continuing your treatment.
Looking for a Teletherapist?
If you are looking for online counseling in Colorado Springs or in Colorado, we are here for you. Whether this is your first time seeking treatment or you have been in treatment for some time, teletherapy is a great option given the current state of the world. You can have confidence that we are trained in teletherapy and can offer you excellent evidence-based care from the comfort of your own home or in-office. The beauty is that the choice is yours.
So if you are in search of video counseling, contact us today for a free 15 minute consultation. We are psychologists and counselors experienced in evidence-based care who specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with mood disorders, eating disorders, and trauma.