One of the best things about the Internet is its role as a source of connection. It connects us to friends and family through social media and connects us to goods and services through online shopping and websites. Now, it can even connect us to our health care services.
Why is Mental Health Care Important?
It’s important for mental health issues to be addressed as early as possible. When left untreated, they become progressively worse and can eat away at your quality of life. According to studies done by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM), it can also reduce a person’s productivity in the workplace, causing companies world-wide to lose billions of dollars.
What is Telemental Health?
Telemental health is the online delivery of mental and behavioral health services from licensed mental health providers through technology. This includes videoconferencing, and other online communication. Telemental health providers are mental health providers who have been trained to provide services specifically through online mediums. There are no limitations on types of services they offer including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders and relationship problems among other psychological issues.
All telemental health platforms must be completely secure and follow state and federal regulation in protecting patient health information to make it HIPAA-compliant. This includes having policies and procedures that safeguard your information at administrative, technical and physical levels. Organization staff is also trained on HIPAA standards and do regular tests to ensure compliance.
Does Telemental Health Work?
Yes. Many studies have found that telemental health works as well as or better than in-person care and mental health providers echo this sentiment. Jeanine Miles, a counselor who offers services both in-person and online says, “I really see the same relationship as I would in an office. We still work on changing behaviors and increasing self-awareness to bring about positive change and that happens whether it’s in person in my office or online by videoconferencing.”
Challenges of Telemental Health
While telemental health can be convenient, it does have some drawbacks. For example, it is necessary to have a strong internet connection to have clear sessions, which is sometimes difficult in extremely remote areas. Additionally, there is no federal law mandating insurance companies to cover this type of mental health care although there are many payers that see the benefits and partner with telehealth companies anyways.
Advantages of Telemental Health
Studies and online testimonials from users of telemental health care find it to be an effective and convenient treatment. It allows you to meet with a provider during evenings and on weekends without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. John, a telemental health user on a platform called Inpathy, reported, “If it wasn’t for Inpathy, I probably wouldn’t keep up with my sessions.”
If you are interested in telemental health, visit Inpathy at www.inpathy.com to learn more.
ABOUT DANIAYLA STEIN
Daniayla is passionate about helping people help themselves through information and advocacy and frequently writes on behavioral health issues and healthcare policy.
Follow Daniayla on Twitter: @daniaylas