Improving mental health in America will require a complete rethink of how we define healthcare to improve behavioral health and remove the stigma patients often feel when seeking care. It will also take the coming together of multiple experts and services to develop a new way to deliver care.
Did you know that in any given year, one in five American adults are diagnosed with a mental health disorder and of those diagnosed, over half do not receive adequate treatment. There are many reasons for this, but access to quality care is the main.
This is where virtual mental health programs can help.
Virtual Mental Health Programs – The Benefits
A University in Zurich studied a group of 62 patients who they split in half. Of the half that received treatment using online therapy, 53% found their symptoms eased compared to 50% who had the in-person counseling.
Three months after the study was completed,
- 57% of the online patients showed no signs of depression
- 42% of the conventionally treated patients showed no signs of depression
In addition a four year study by Johns Hopkins including nearly 100,000 veterans found that the number of days patients were hospitalized dropped by 25% when they chose online counselling. This is slightly higher than those who used face-to-face counseling.
For both patients and the providers, there are many positive health benefits to using virtual mental health programs.
- Increased access, especially for patients who live in remote locations, who are housebound or have other reasons they cannot make regular therapy sessions.
- Convenience and ease. All you need is a computer, webcam and internet access.
- Further scope. Providers offering online services can reach and access people who are not local to them, or even in the same country.
- Fewer missed appointments. As there are fewer obstacles in the way, there is less chance of missing appointments.
- Custom care. Providers are able to create a care plan that is specific to the patients needs and using software they can track trends and progress along the way.
Telemedicine cannot fix every challenge that exists today when it comes to mental health services. It can, however, help us take a step closer to bridging the gap between providers and patients. It is able to remove barriers like location, convenience and transportation which allows them to achieve treatment numbers close to 100%.
Furthering Your Mental Health Provision
Now you have your online practice up and running, furthering your knowledge and learning should be on your agenda. Have you considered a masters in clinical health counseling online?
There are many programs designed specifically to extend your skill set with the course, including learning through coursework and in-field training.
Not only will you gain new skills, you will also create a network of like-minded professionals who you can work with and support to help grow your practice in the future. Professional development is the perfect way to grow your practice and help even more patients who may have never been able to access this treatment otherwise.
Mental Health In America In 2019
With the rise of young people suffering major depression rising and 70% still in need of treatment, developing an online program to help treat mental health issues is essential to help reduce this number further.
Although the number of patients suffering from substance use disorder has decreased over the past 6 years, there are still 10 million adults with unmet needs for mental health treatment.
In comparison to the state of mental health over the past two years, it is clear there is a lack of adequate mental health provision and with the number of youth cases rising, find a method and treatment approach that they can access easily is one solution. With the rise of smartphones and people accessing the internet on them, developing services and a treatment plan that fits around these areas is a great way to tap into the youth demographic that so desperately needs support and treatment.
Telemedicine is just one solution, but used well it can give those who need professional help a lifeline that they may never have had otherwise. With many phones having built in cameras, the need for a laptop and webcam is reduced, making it even easier for patients to access the professional support to help them improve their mental health and overall wellbeing.
Growing a practice using telemedicine is the perfect solution, even if you aren’t in a remote area. This way, you have no limits to your reach, regardless of your geographical location.