The Growth of Telemental Therapy

Growth of Telemental Therapy

In an endeavor to make life more convenient, people are constantly looking for creative ways to save time, money, and effort. An ongoing quest for life efficiency in order to minimize overall stress. One trend that is gaining popularity is the use of telehealth and telemental services.

Medical doctors delivering medical advice over the phone or internet is a fairly new concept in the field of medicine. However, mental health professionals have been conducting person to person sessions over the phone or the internet for decades. This includes access to such services as “suicide hotlines” and crisis counseling.” These services have been responsible for saving of literally millions of lives since their inception.

In this article we will focus on the the benefits of telemental therapy.

Why the Continued Move Towards Providing Telemental Therapy?

We live in a busy world filled with stress and increasing constraints on our precious time. Getting to the doctor is not always easy. Perhaps you live in a rural area, or taking time off of work isn’t always an option. At every turn, we live with stress and the difficulties that come with navigating everyday life; family, work, financial limitations. This has led to a noticeable increase in mental health issues over the past 20 years. And especially over the last few years thanks to covid and the constant upheaval plaguing societies all over the world.

As mental health issues increase, so has the need for easy access to mental health professionals like counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Keeping up with the demand has become a real problem. That’s very clear in areas like addiction treatment where rehab facilities are forced to limit the number of patients they can accept due to limited human resources.

Google Trends

In the Google Trends chart below we can see that the web searches for Telemental had skyrocketed in March of 2020 due to COVID-19:

Telemental Trends

The Telemental searches gets dwarfed when compared to the Telehealth searches during the same 2020 time period:

Telehealth vs Telemental

 

Increased Demand

Telemental services are a very effective way to address the ever-increasing need for therapy and counseling. This way Mental health professionals can meet with more clients via the phone or video chat because it eliminates a lot of logistical issues and frees up more of their time for both doctor and patient.

Technology has played a huge role in facilitating telemental servicing. As technological advancements in communication continue to make this kind of process more intimate, effective, and convenient, it’s a methodology that more therapists and medical professionals are starting to employ with great success. Imagine simply speaking to your doctor from the comfort of your home.

Zoom
The company added 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020, while in 2019 it added 1.99 million, according to Bernstein’s estimates.
~ CNBC Feb. 26 2020

Is the Use of Telemental Services as Effective as In-Person Counseling?

The debate related to the use of telemental servicing to deliver mental healthcare services revolves around the effectiveness of the process. Is there a component of therapy that demands the personal touch of being physically present with the therapist?

Since the use of telemental services on a broader scale is still a fairly new concept, there aren’t a lot of studies about the efficacy of this approach. However, common sense would point out that there really shouldn’t be a material difference, especially when communicating virtually via video chat.

With a medical doctor, there often has to be a certain amount of physical interaction, such as taking blood pressure and listening to the lungs and heart. However, even doctors are beginning to adopt telehealth options when simply delivering test results and/or diagnosis. mental healthcare professional do not have such restraints. They only require a platform for discussion and personal interaction. As long as they can still visually monitor a patient’s reactions and demeanor, their effectiveness as a therapist should not be compromised.

As the delivery of telemental health services continues to increase, it’s a good bet that researchers will be doing more studies regarding this subject matter. For the time being, there is no reason to believe that therapy done over over the internet isn’t as effective as an in-person therapy session.

We should point out that telemental services are likely more effective when delivered over a medium with a visual component. A simple phone session does not provide the professional with a way to visually assess a patient’s emotional state.

The Benefits of Telemental Therapy for Patients

We already know that mental health professionals can save time and meet with more patients by using this approach. Our own business Serin Center saw a large increase in patients looking for Telemental EMDR Therapy starting in 2020.

But what about you?

Here are five ways in which you could benefit from therapy sessions over the internet.

1. Improved Access

Perhaps you live in a small community or a rural area where there isn’t great access to mental health providers. Perhaps you don’t want your neighbors knowing you’re seeing a therapist, or perhaps you simply haven’t found a mental health professional in your area that you feel comfortable with.

With telemental services, you could literally get therapy from a mental health professional on the other side of the world. You would no longer be limited by how far you’re willing to drive for an appointment.

With a dramatic increase in available resources, it would be easier for you to find a therapist with whom you feel could provide the best service for you.

2. The Convenience Factor

Scheduling appointments for therapy can be a real hassle. Since your therapist has a limited amount of available office time, they can’t always meet when it’s convenient for you.

While telemental treatment doesn’t resolve all the issues with scheduling, it can open up the calendar much wider for you and your therapist. Without the need to drive to an office, you would be far more likely to find convenient times that work for both you and your doctor, such as evenings or early in the morning before you head off to work. And running late for appointments due to unforeseeable traffic or other impediments would no longer be an issue.

3. The Flexibility Factor

How many times have you or your therapist had to suddenly cancel an appointment due to an emergency? Car won’t start. You get a flat tire. Child running a fever. From a logistical standpoint, emergencies like these cost valuable time and money. That is why therapists typically charge cancellation fees.

If you are receiving telemental services, these emergencies are far less likely to cause a cancellation. If your child wakes up with a fever, you can be there to take care of them and still make your appointment by simply turning on your computer. This gives everybody the ability to be a little more flexible with their time.

4. Privacy and Comfort

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of going into a mental health office or facility for treatment. It may be due to the hassle, or a feeling of self-consciousness.

When therapy is handled over the phone or the internet, it provides everyone with a higher degree of privacy. Plus, there is the comfort factor. Instead of timing out your drive to ensure you reach your appointment on time and then sitting in a waiting room, you could simply make yourself comfortable in your favorite chair.

5. The Cost Factor

After factoring in the money you would save by not having to request time off of work and commute to an office, the net savings to you over a year could be quite substantial.

In addition, telemental servicing should also allow therapists to schedule more virtual appointments in a single day with less hassle, which should help them meet their financial goals, while also allowing for less staff and administrative tasks that dig into profits. This could allow them to pass that benefit along to their patients by way of lower fees, flexible hours, and easier access.

The telemental servicing trend is only going to continue to grow in the coming years thanks to technology and our desire for convenience. The COVID19 pandemic greatly expanded the demand for these types of services, making them even more prevalent in todays market. More and more people are seeing the benefits.

Get Started Today

Get started with Telemental EMDR Therapy today with the Serin Center.

We’re located in Peoria AZ, but with the advances in Telemental services, you can benefit from the comfort of your own home anywhere in the United States.

Call us to find out how to get started today: (623) 824-5051

Or use our online Patient Inquiry form here.

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Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels