Understanding The Importance Of Telemedicine In Mental Health Care

live video call with a patient

When mental health concerns become an immediate and pressing matter, moments matter. Telemedicine technology can provide immediate access to mental health care. 20% of all Americans struggle with mental illness. Despite this, less than half of them have access to the care they need to treat them. Lack of accessible care, social stigma, and cost all play into the untreated mental health crisis. With the proper support, those with mental health concerns can lead productive and happy lives. Telemedicine provides new opportunities for those who previously were unable to get care.

Understanding The Importance Of Telemedicine In Mental Health Care

Those with mental health concerns often experience chronic unemployment, social isolation, and loss of relationships due to non-treatment. Along with these concerns, they often face other troubles, including addiction, sleep disorders, heart disease, obesity, and others. In many cases, those experiencing a crisis of mental health will encounter police before they get therapy. This fact means they are at an elevated risk of getting arrested before they get the help they need. Nearly two million people are booked into jails each year who have mental health conditions. Telemedicine could sharply reduce this number with better access to mental health care.

  • Reduce the fear of stigma – The stigma placed on those with mental illness in America is high. For some, the idea of being seen entering a psychiatric clinic is enough to prevent them from seeking care. Telemedicine removes this impediment.
  • Greater Availability of Mental Health Providers –  With location no longer being concerned about finding a mental health professional, more patients could get care. Mental health providers could be available to their patients wherever they were. This benefit is significant for underserved areas.
  • Accommodate Patient Comorbidities – Nearly 70% of patients with mental health concerns have additional medical conditions. Elderly patients and those living with disabilities may have difficulty making it to appointments.
  • Consistent Treatment – The relationship with a therapist is an important one. Progress can be impeded or even reversed if a new therapist becomes necessary. Loss of job, broken relationships, evictions, and the like can mean an unwanted provider change.
  • Reduced Costs – Telemedicine visits tend to be less expensive than in-office visits. There are numerous reasons for this, among them reduced transportations costs and lower overhead for the provider.
  • Deeper Insight – The ability to see patients in their home environments helps tear away some of the veil. Even though patients seek help, it’s common to put on a ‘game face’ when outside the office. Being comfortable at home can make them more open.

These represent just a few of the essential benefits of telemedicine as part of mental health practice.

Speak To Your Mental Health Provider About Telemedicine Options

Telemedicine is a growing trend that has been invigorated by the trials of the pandemic. The development of technologies and security protocols has resulted in an environment where care is more available than ever. Reach out to your mental health provider and see what options they provide for telemedicine services today!


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Linda Clark, NP

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