If you feel that your mental health is declining, you’re not alone. One in five Americans is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and more than half don’t receive proper treatment. The shortage of quality care and access to care across the country is to blame. There’s also the fear of social stigma that keeps people from seeking out treatment.
The mental health community is beginning to realize that they need to redefine health care to successfully address the mental health issue on a national level.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is simply defined as remote health care. It’s divided into three categories:
- Interactive and synchronous which allows physicians and their patients to communicate in real time while maintaining HIPAA compliance
- “Store and forward” which allows providers to share patient information with a practitioner in a different location
- Remote patient monitoring (RPM) which allows remote caregivers to monitor their patient at home by using mobile medical devices that monitor vitals, etc.
Telemedicine isn’t a complete virtual clinic solution, however, as it’s still in its early stages. As of right now, telemedicine in its least complex form requires secured HIPAA compliance software and video call capabilities.
The Role of Telemedicine in Mental Health
According to a 2016 survey conducted by the PwC Health Research Institute, 72% of patients from 18 to 44 years of age responded with a yes to receiving their mental health care virtually as opposed to in-office visits.
Mental health treatment relies on conversation, emotional connection, and validation, making telemedicine a game changer in the field. There are a few fundamental ways in which telemedicine, or telepsychiatry, is revolutionizing mental health care:
- It alleviates the shortage of mental health care professionals
- With telepsychiatry on the rise, mental health care professionals can now virtually treat patients that live hundreds of miles away, closing the gap between location disadvantages and available treatment
- Accessibility encompasses more than just a person’s geographic location. Telemedicine opens the door to treatment for those who are mobile-challenged, lack transportation options, and are recovering at home. As long as the patient has internet access, they’ll have access to treatment.
It Helps Destigmatize Mental Health Treatment
While mental health treatment has become normalized, there’s still a heavy stigma attached to it. Mental health treatment isn’t directly destigmatized by telepsychiatry, but it contributes to the comfortability of seeking help because it allows for patients to get treatment from the privacy of their own homes, as opposed to going to an office where someone might feel uncomfortable.
It’s Revolutionizing Addiction Treatment
Opioid addiction is at an all time high, especially in rural areas with little to no access to mental health treatment. This is something that calls for greater addiction treatment reform, which has been implemented in the form of telemedicine as a means to provide the necessary resources to the areas with the greatest need.
Telemedicine is elevating mental health treatment into something that’s not only 100% accessible, but also destigmatized.
Your mental health is essential to your well being. At Elevate Psychiatry we offer accessible and cutting edge care. Our virtual therapists are ready and waiting to help you achieve the mental health that you deserve. Contact us to learn more about our services or to book your first virtual appointment.