According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 51.5 million U.S. adults live with a mental illness, as per the data recorded in 2019. Certainly, with the current pandemic that has disrupted our way of life, it’s possible that even more Americans have mental illnesses today. In some quarters, poor mental health is described as the silent pandemic. However, the good thing is that telemedicine for mental health treatment is providing solutions to millions of people suffering from different mental illnesses.
Here’s how telemedicine is improving mental health treatment.
1. Remote Doctor Consultation Has Helped Reduce the Stigma Associated with Mental Health Treatment
Although millions of American adults live with a mental illness, few seek professional treatment from a mental health doctor. One of the main reasons people shy off from seeking treatment is the fear of being stigmatized and alienated by society. Take, for instance, a patient living with anxiety disorders. It’s taunting for such a person to make frequent visits to the doctor’s office and possibly queue in line amongst strangers.
This is because most people associate mental illnesses with weakness, bad parenting, poverty, and many other unfounded myths. It can also be hard for people to accept that certain mental illnesses such as ADHD can affect adults, while 4% of American adults deal with ADHD on a daily basis. Luckily, telemedicine for mental health makes it easy for mental health patients to continue their treatment remotely after their first visit to a doctor. Thanks to telemedicine providers, patients can access mental health treatment from the comfort of their homes or a place where they feel most comfortable.
2. Disadvantaged Groups Can Access Mental Health Treatment Through Virtual Telemedicine
Sadly, people who need mental health treatment most are at the very bottom of the spectrum. These include people in correctional facilities and elderly people at home. Through telemedicine for mental health, an online doctor in Florida can attend to patients regardless of their location.
This is good news for inmates in prison who may be suffering from a mental illness such as depression and anxious feelings. For such groups of people in a disadvantaged position, mental health telemedicine is a life-saver because getting treatment improves their quality of life and health substantially.
Likewise, the elderly and people in remote areas can benefit from telemedicine without having to travel long distances to access treatment. Given the mobility disadvantages of the seniors and those living in remote areas, virtual telemedicine becomes a convenient option to seek mental health treatment.
3. Telemedicine for Mental Health Allows Patients to Monitor Their Symptoms Remotely
Telemedicine providers have done a bang-up job of developing engaging platforms that help patients with their treatment. Telemedicine services have made it possible for patients to connect to the telemedicine apps that allow them to self-track their mental health treatment. Telemedicine apps have inbuilt features that are of great use to the patients. These features include self-management tools, calendars, reminders, and analytical graphs that help patients to track their progress.
When patients regularly use telemedicine apps, mental health professionals have a good source of reference to track their patients’ progress and collect important data. Through the telemedicine platforms, doctors can make suggestions and offer tips to their patients to help them fast track their progress and gain more from their treatment. This makes telemedicine for mental health as effective as face-to-face treatment. It’s even more effective because it saves time and money for both the doctor and the patients.
With mental health illnesses becoming more prevalent in our modern life, the demand for telemedicine services is rising. With telemedicine for mental health, more patients can access mental health treatment without location limitations. Today, there’s a higher demand for virtual telemedicine services because more people have developed mental illness as they struggle to adapt to our new normal. Besides mental health treatment, telemedicine has enabled enhanced addiction treatment, alcoholism treatment, and treatment for general illnesses such as cough and cold.