Telehealth: The Present and Future of Mental Health Care

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic caused waves that crashed into our everyday lives and altered nearly every aspect. Social distance meant fewer physical interactions and an increasing dependency on the internet. The internet allowed us to stay connected to our families, health care providers, and coworkers. Telehealth is more relevant now than before the pandemic despite its prior availability. 

What is Telehealth? 

Telemedicine is care given by a health care provider over the internet. It does not require an office visit and can be conducted anywhere with internet access. Telehealth includes phone calls, video calls, remote monitoring, emails, texts, and instant messages between a patient and their care provider. 

The most common issues treated with telehealth are prescription management, communication of test results, diagnosis of reoccurring conditions, therapy, and follow-ups. In addition to these issues, we utilize telemedicine to monitor and diagnose mental health conditions. 

Telehealth Statistics

MH stands for mental health, SUD stands for substance use disorder

In a recent survey conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, four out of every ten Americans have utilized telehealth services. That is an increase of 31% since the fall of 2020. More than 1 in 3 Americans surveyed preferred telehealth to in-person doctor visits. Older adults were more hesitant to schedule a telehealth visit and more likely to have issues scheduling one. 

Based on the statistics, 43% of adults prefer to continue using telehealth services post-Covid. In addition, 6 out of 10 Americans are open to using telehealth for mental health care. 

The Benefits of Telehealth 

When reviewing the statistics listed above, it is noteworthy that the number of mental health diagnoses and visits performed via telehealth has increased since its rise to prominence in 2019. The expected benefits telehealth may have on mental health care are as follows. 

Accessibility 

Telehealth for mental health care increases access to care. More than 50% of counties in the United States do not have a residing acting psychologist. Telehealth brings mental health services to these rural areas. 

Convenience 

Telemedicine is also convenient. Individuals suffering from mental health conditions tend to have reduced emotional stability and fluctuating energy levels. Telehealth services permit clients to log on where they are and participate in services. In-person visits typically require transportation, planning, and preparedness. 

Time and Cost Effective

The reduced need for office space, receptionists, and equipment also lowers the cost of telemedicine. Medicaid, medicare and most other insurance programs cover telemedicine. Telemedicine also allows patients to avoid the office. The time spent in the waiting room can instead be spent working from home or completing another task. 

Preferred 

Due to the accessibility, convenience, and lower cost and time of telehealth, many physicians and patients prefer it to in-person treatment. The use of telemedicine reduces the waste of time and money. 

Is Telemedicine the Future of Mental Health Care?

Only time can tell whether telehealth is the future of mental health care. Current survey results and statistics indicate that telehealth will be an option for some time post-Covid. 

Health care systems could utilize telemedicine to correct America’s mental health crisis. Too many Americans lack the support and accessibility to mental health care services. Telemedicine can expand the availability of mental health care and help ensure that those who need help receive it. 

Published by alswartz

I am an aspiring novelist working on my first book. I have an interest in mental health and each of my works is related to mental health in some way.

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