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How did Telehealth Affect Mental Health?

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Mental health does not discriminate according to gender, location, or circumstance.


Therefore, Telehealth Therapy was used to make treatment more accessible for mental health patients who otherwise might not even be able to address their condition due to societal and cultural norms.


The world is no stranger to mental health with 1 in 8 people suffering from mental health issues, and this number is only increasing as everyday life becomes more stressful and quality of life around the globe declines.


When Telehealth was first introduced to the world of mental health, it fulfilled a crucial element that has long been missing from the world of therapy.



Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash



Not everyone has access to a licensed professional in their area and in some cases, individuals suffering from mental health conditions would feel uncomfortable going to an in-person therapy session due to the social stigma around mental health that continues to persist in some parts of the world.


Telehealth Therapy allowed various people regardless of their location or circumstances to communicate with a licensed professional around the clock and improve their mental health.


So, without any more delay, in this post we are going to be covering the impact of Telemedicine on the world of mental health and how effective it really is in treatment.



When did telehealth start in mental health?


The practice of remote therapy through technology began in the 1950’s with facilities like the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute using videoconferencing in 1959 to provide various services remotely including group therapy and long-term therapy.


By the time the 1990s came around, telehealth therapy grew and its use was becoming more frequent in different parts of the world.


As telehealth therapy started becoming more popular, many questions arose about its effectiveness in treating mental health conditions and how it compared to traditional in-person therapy.


After countless case studies, telehealth therapy proved to be an effective method for treating mental health and substance abuse conditions.


As such, telehealth therapy was simply viewed by licensed professionals and researchers as an effective yet different method of treatment in regards to some aspects such as the comfort a patient feels during treatment when compared to in-person therapy.



How effective is telehealth for mental health?


The use of telemedicine in mental health is one of the most researched with almost all studies showing that it is an effective method for treating most mental health conditions.


As more evidence supporting the effectiveness of telehealth therapy came out over the years, health institutions like the American Psychological Association started getting behind telehealth therapy in hopes of reaching more people in need of therapy or mental health counseling but are unable to receive it for varying reasons.


Telehealth therapy can mainly take two forms, videoconferencing and audio-only and ever since its emergence in clinical practices, patients and researchers alike have been skeptical about its effectiveness.


However, countless research has concluded that telehealth therapy is an effective method of practicing therapy.


Audio-only is a much-needed form of telehealth therapy since it reinforces the concept which telehealth therapy was based on, providing mental health counseling for any individual regardless of the circumstances surrounding them.


Research has proven that telehealth therapy and counseling is an extremely effective method to treat various mood disorders such as:

  • Depression

  • Bipolar Disorder

  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

  • Cyclothymic disorder

In fact, telehealth therapy has proven to be uniquely effective in treating patients who suffer from depression or anxiety as the patient can continue to be present in a familiar and soothing environment while communicating with the mental health specialist.




Photo by Marcel Strauß on Unsplash




Taking the first step towards better and improved mental health requires effort as you force yourself to be emotionally and mentally venerable in a completely foreign setting.


Hence, Scheduling your first appointment for telehealth therapy is a much easier step in comparison to in-person therapy, especially since you get to choose the licensed professional you are going to be working with beforehand.


Even though thorough research has been carried out over the years proving the value and effectiveness of telehealth counseling, further research is needed to measure its effectiveness in treating serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia when compared to in-person therapy.



What are the benefits of telehealth?


Now that we have established that telehealth therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy. There are benefits to telehealth therapy that may not be present in traditional face-to-face therapy sessions.


One of the biggest advantages of telehealth therapy is the lack of constrictions in terms of location. So, you can always choose and consult with the mental health professional you want no matter where they are anywhere in the state you are located.


Another big advantage of telehealth therapy is the reduced cost it can have relative to in-person therapy, but with the same degree of effectiveness.


Telehealth therapy tends to be more cost-efficient since the mental health professional’s practicing cost is much lower without the need for a clinic or office.


Additionally, telehealth counseling is more beneficial for mental health patients who are not comfortable with going to a therapist’s clinic or simply don’t have the time to commute back and forth for every session.



How did telehealth help during the pandemic?


When the pandemic took over the world, everyone was forced to stay indoors and were only allowed to go outdoors to obtain some living essentials while maintaining a safe distance from everyone they came across.


As such, in-person therapy sessions were suddenly halted in various locations. However, mental health does not discriminate or wait for the patient’s circumstances to improve.


Therefore, telehealth therapy provided an outlet for mental health professionals to continue working and allowed mental health patients to stay in touch with their therapists and counselors without losing progress.


In fact, the pandemic was a challenging time for millions of people across the world as they were stuck at home and some had no means of earning an income.


But through telehealth therapy, countless individuals were able to endure these times with the help and guidance of mental health professionals.



Conclusion


In summary, mental health is a huge aspect of every person’s life around the world.


However, there simply aren’t enough qualified mental health professionals to address this global demand, which is why telehealth therapy is vital to spreading mental health counseling and therapy for all those who truly need it.


Telehealth therapy has proven to be an effective method of treating mental health as it helped thousands of individuals during the pandemic through those difficult times and in doing so, it invertedly helped raise some of the stigma surrounding mental health in different parts of the world.


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