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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mojgan Makki

Why You Should Try Telemental Health

As many of us remain homebound during this pandemic, we find ourselves facing unique challenges. Physical distance from our social village has taken a toll on all of us. We know we need to pay close attention to our physical health right now, but our emotional health is extremely important too. If you or your child are struggling emotionally, you don’t need to wait until it is safe to see a mental health professional in person. Telemental health is an excellent way to receive mental health services in the safety of your home. Here are our answers to some of the questions you may have about telemental health.

What is telemental health?

Telemental health services, telemental health, telepsychiatry, teletherapy, distance therapy, or virtual therapy is essentially a live videoconferencing appointment with a licensed professional using a secure electronic platform.

What mental health services are being offered virtually?

You can receive all the services you would normally receive in-person, from psychiatric evaluation, consultation, and treatment to individual and group therapy.

How does telemental health work?

Telemental health appointments are similar to in-person doctor or therapist visits, except that the doctor or therapist and patient are in different locations. You talk to each other through videoconferencing technology using your computer, tablet, or cell phone.

Will telemental health be as effective as in-person visits?

Research with adults shows that telepsychiatry is just as effective as treatment provided in person. The ability to establish a therapeutic rapport with youth and families through telepsychiatry is also well established. Telemental health therapy has also been shown to be just as effective as in-person therapy for treating individuals, children (with parental permission), families, couples, and groups who struggle with an anxiety disorder (including panic and PTSD), certain depressive disorders, and addictions, and is adaptable for many disabilities, and different ethnicities and cultures.

What are the benefits of telemental health?

  • The main benefit is that you or your child can get expert care without delay.

  • Telemental health allows for privacy, reduces stigma, and breaks down barriers for seeking mental health services.

  • Referring providers, psychiatrists, and families report high satisfaction with telepsychiatry services.

  • Telemental health reduces the commute time to and from a practitioner's office, making it easier to fit appointments into busy family schedules.

  • Telemental health allows you to connect with mental health professionals when traveling or when access to their offices is an issue.

Will my insurance cover telemental health?

Insurance coverage for telepsychiatry and teletherapy varies. Currently, due to COVID-19, most insurance companies cover telemental health sessions in the same way they would cover in-person sessions. Practitioners continue to monitor insurance rules and regulations and should keep you informed of any changes moving forward.

Adults or youth who are struggling with their mental health should not wait to see a clinician for a

new evaluation or follow-up appointment. Many skilled licensed mental health professionals are using telemental health for their existing clients and are available for new clients as well.

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