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Mental Health and Telehealth - Accessing Help

Updated: Jun 25

Telehealth and its benefits

Despite a growing demand for mental health services, many people across the U.S. are still unable to receive the help they need. Even in areas with mental health providers, there are often not enough to meet the need — especially if patients must travel long distances to reach available providers.

Telehealth - a growing, effective way to provide mental health care when patients and providers are in different physical locations - is healthcare from the safety of your home that lets your healthcare provider care for you without an in-person office visit. Telehealth can help eliminate the barrier of needing transportation and decrease “no-shows,” resulting in greater continuity of treatment. It is done primarily online with internet access on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, which can improve access to mental health care and can give patients and providers more flexibility.

There are several options for telehealth care:

· Talking to a healthcare provider live over the phone or video chat.

· Sending and receiving messages from your healthcare provider using secure messaging, email, secure messaging, and secure file exchange.

This mode of service delivery ultimately increases access to screening, assessment, treatment, recovery support, crisis support, and medication management. For some populations like children and adolescents, telehealth may also create a better experience than traditional therapy sessions.

Additionally, telehealth can increase access to culturally competent and clinically specific clinicians, for underserved individuals. Ultimately, the goal is to make your virtual visit feel like an in-person visit as much as possible.

What to Expect

Most telehealth visits will include video. All you will need for this is a smartphone or a device with an internet connection and audio-video capabilities, like a tablet or computer.

Review any email, texts, or other communication from your doctor’s office. Check your email for instructions. The office may send you details about your upcoming appointment and how to log on or use their technology.

You have the right to absolute privacy in what you choose to discuss with your doctor during a telehealth appointment.

Feel empowered that you have the confidence, the ability, and the opportunity to advocate for your health during appointments. Talking to a doctor about your medical concerns, your history, and your symptoms may feel overwhelming. Some people may feel embarrassed. Others may be unsure what questions to ask.

Payment For and Access to Telehealth Services

Every insurance plan requires a Mental Health Diagnosis to be submitted on your behalf, for telehealth and mental health services to be covered. However, we understand that many do not have access to insurance coverage, and are faced with the option to Self-Pay. It is important to note that other options exist.

The cost of mental health services has always been a great barrier to accessing care for people with mental health problems. Lack of insurance should not be a barrier to access to counseling activities and mental health services.

As we all make efforts to cope with the vast impact of the pandemic and other significant public health issues that have been amplified recently (including racial injustices against Black people and other minority groups), the demand for therapy has been higher than ever. Unfortunately, this does not mean access to mental health services has been any easier.

At RAI Counseling Services, we are glad to offer affordable counseling services through our RAI Cares program. The RAI Cares Program was created to provide affordable online & phone counseling to low-income clients, clients without insurance, or clients who are having difficulty finding counselors that accept their insurance in Massachusetts.

Because everyone deserves the opportunity for everyone to receive the health care they need and deserve, regardless of social or economic status.

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