- Major depressive disorder
- Seasonal affective disorder
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Postpartum depressive disorder
- Bipolar depression
TeleMental Health Services
Online Therapy for Mental Health Conditions
One of the most important news stories during the time of the coronavirus outbreak has been the emergence of telemedicine as a viable option for securing medical evaluation and guidance. Using electronic devices, patients can have a health practitioner triage symptoms over an online platform, which can often help individuals avoid having to make a trip to the doctor’s office.
Parallel to this technical breakthrough is telemental health, where someone in need of mental health or addiction recovery support can contact a psychotherapist or addiction specialist online. This remote option is an exciting addition to existing mental health services, potentially leading more individuals to receive mental health guidance. Being accessible and somewhat anonymous helps to overcome one of the most strident barriers to getting treatment: stigma.
For far too long people who are in need of mental health assistance have been hampered by the association with a stigma surrounding these types of disorders. Many individuals who are in significant distress avoid seeking treatment because they fear their reputation would suffer or that they might lose their job. Telemental health services help to breakdown that roadblock to treatment, allowing individuals to be assessed and provided guidance in the privacy of their homes.
About TeleMental Health and Online Therapy
Telemental health is a form of remote e-therapy using a provider’s secure video and audio platform. Some of the mental health or behavioral health providers who participate in telemental health services include psychotherapists, addiction counselors, psychiatrists, and social workers.
The advent of telemental health providers is a welcome development in the mental health field. Increasing numbers of Americans are affected by mental health or substance use disorders, and many do not have the financial resources or insurance coverage to assist them in getting the help they need. The telemental health option can open doors for many people who might otherwise never get the guidance they need.
Having access to a mental health professional via the Internet can be a valuable tool for many. People may turn to an online mental health provider for such things as managing a sudden negative life event, such as the unexpected loss of a loved one, for assistance in managing anxiety, agoraphobia, or panic disorder, and for assistance for individuals battling depression when hitting a rough spot.
TeleMental Health and Addiction Recovery
In the realm of behavioral health, having a telemental health addiction professional available can be immensely helpful, especially when recovery is threatened. These online services may be included in aftercare planning or alumni services provided by the addiction treatment provider.
Increasingly, rehabs are seeing the value in offering the telemental health option for individuals following treatment. Where some who complete treatment might not bother to continue outpatient therapy at an outpatient program or mental health center, some will make the effort if they can access therapy via an online platform. This convenient availability of therapy can help improve recovery success rates overall.
What Conditions are Included in Telemental Health?
It may surprise readers to learn that a telemental health platform can provide help for a wide range of mental health conditions. These include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Specific phobia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Trauma disorder
- Bipolar I disorder
- Bipolar II disorder
- Cylclothymic disorder
- Non-specified bipolar
- Borderline personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Dependent personality disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Schizophreniform disorder
- Delusional disorder
- Brief Psychotic disorder
- Alcohol use disorder recovery
- Opiate addiction recovery
- Benzodiazepine addiction recovery
- Methamphetamine addiction recovery
- Cocaine addiction recovery
TeleMental Health Levels of Care
Telemental health services can be used as a stop gap measure when help is needed and the individual is not able to get to the provider’s office, or it can be utilized instead of an in-person meeting. The available levels of care for mental health disorders or addiction recovery include:
A weekly or twice weekly outpatient therapy session is valuable for individuals who have completed a higher level of care and are stepping down to more basic maintenance. Others may have no need to complete a higher level of care, for instance someone who wants ongoing therapy for managing depression or anxiety, and this outpatient therapy is the appropriate level of care.
Intensive outpatient program (IOP).
The IOP is an excellent option for individuals seeking a higher level of care for a mental health disorder or a substance use disorder. The telemental health IOP will likely involve about 9 hours per week of programming and may utilize different mental health providers for different treatment elements.
Partial hospitalization program (PHP).
The PHP option is the highest level of outpatient care available. The PHP offers an intensive and broad spectrum of treatment elements, possible up to 25 hours per week.
Benefits of TeleMental Health and Online Therapy
There are several instances where having access to a telemental health provider might prove essential. These benefits include:
A study published in 2013 looked at the effectiveness of the telemental health model and found that this option for the delivery of mental health or behavioral health treatment is not only highly effective but increases access to care.