Along with the physical health impacts of COVID-19, there have also been psychological impacts related to the pandemic. Tele-mental health services are feasible and appropriate to support individuals, families, and essential workers during this time. Psychological symptoms can be observed in our society as we see anxiety driven panic buying and concerns of being in large crowds. People are adjusting to a new normal, including not going into their workplace, working from home, some homeschooling, and others having to adjust to remote learning for the first time. The psychological impact and stress as it relates to the economy, income, jobs and general overall anxiety is bound to take its toll on the public. Telehealth services for mental health provides many advantages, not only during this time of the pandemic but also as we consider access to mental health resources in our communities:
- Increased Access to Therapists: One of the biggest challenges is finding a therapist is making the initial appointment. For some individuals, picking up the phone and making the first call can be the biggest challenge and for some a barrier to seeking help. Telehealth allows the patient to book an appointment online and at their own convenience. It can help with having to sit in a waiting room, anxiously waiting until you are called in. Having the comfort of being in your own home where you can feel comfortable and safe is a one less barrier to what can be an anxiety provoking situation.
- Additional Privacy: For those who are concerned about going to a therapist office and running into a colleague, neighbor, or acquaintance, teletherapy can remove some of these stressors.
- Preventing Long or Difficult Commutes: Teletherapy benefits those after a long work day, who do not want to get in the car and think about driving and commuting to another appointment. Telehealth is an opportunity to do it in the comfort of your own home, not worrying about rush hour traffic, traveling long distances to get to a counseling appointment on time. I know in my experience rushing to an appointment in rush hour traffic can add more stress and anxiety, that it can take just part of the session to settle my mind and body to be able to then process what I need to.
- Increased Access for Disabled Populations and Individuals with Chronic Illnesses: Telehealth increases options for those who run into barriers attending traditional appointments, e.g., lack of wheelchair accessibility, when symptoms of someone’s chronic illness is keeping them from physically moving well but they still want to benefit from having a session with their therapist.
- Increased Safety: Telehealth is the new norm during the time of this pandemic, respecting social distancing, keeping the client and the therapist safe, and still providing and receiving a much needed service.
As we progress through these uncertain times, it is important to know that mental health treatment is available via telehealth appointments. If you have questions or concerns related to accessing telehealth services reach out to our providers at Harbor Village.