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Why Turn to Teletherapy for Accessible Mental Health Counseling?

Teletherapy is more than just a temporary solution. Software Advice’s 2022 State of Telemedicine Survey reveals that only 32% of patients prefer in-person appointments to teletherapy sessions, thus showing that the majority of patients want online options for mental healthcare. Though some people have apprehensions about telemedicine, about 86% of patients rate their telemedicine sessions as a positive experience. This positive perception shows that online consultations are just as effective as face-to-face sessions. But aside from being an effective solution, online mental health counseling sessions also have additional benefits for patients. So if you’re interested in getting mental health counseling sessions, here’s why you should get them virtually:

Increased accessibility for the elderly and PWDs

The main benefit of teletherapy is that it’s accessible to anyone, including the elderly and people with disabilities. These populations are at high risk for mental health challenges, so it’s critical for them to have better access to proper mental healthcare. To illustrate, our article on ‘Counseling in the Aging Population’ shares that geriatric counselors often assist the elderly with issues like interpersonal discord, financial concerns, memory loss, and even end-of-life planning. It’s not easy to come to terms with the aging process, which is why it’s crucial for this population to be able to talk to a mental health expert in just a few clicks. Senior citizens and PWDs may also struggle with commuting, so having access to teletherapy can make a world of difference in their lives.

Convenient solution for states with staff shortages

Senior citizens and people with disabilities aren’t the only ones struggling with inaccessible mental healthcare services. Due to the ongoing healthcare worker shortages, residents of Washington, South Carolina, Arizona, and more fail to find qualified mental healthcare practitioners near their area. As a result, there’s a high demand for remote nurse practitioners in Washington and South Carolina who can provide comprehensive healthcare services on virtual platforms. These virtual services make it easier for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners and other mental health professionals to accommodate more patients because they won’t need to travel long distances to reach their providers. Thanks to the convenience of teletherapy, patients won’t need to look far or wait for so long before getting the help they need.

Greater flexibility with counseling schedules

Due to the convenient setup of teletherapy, it’s easier for both patients and mental health professionals to schedule appointments. In fact, clinical health psychologist Lauren Stutts shared that the no-show rate of her patients was cut in half since she transitioned to teletherapy. She further stated that it was easier for her adolescent patients to start showing up because they no longer had to arrange rides to get to their therapy sessions. Teletherapy also allows mental health professionals to enjoy more flexible working schedules because they are no longer limited to their physical clinic. As a result, they can accommodate more patients throughout the week because they’re holding their counseling sessions from home.

Better retention rates for counseling patients

Thanks to all these benefits, patients are more likely to show up and become consistent with their teletherapy sessions. David Mohr of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago points out that the retention rates of patients are higher when they use teletherapy. As a result, patients may be able to recover faster because it is easier for them to remain consistent with their sessions. It’s not surprising that retention rates are higher among teletherapy patients because mental health professionals can conduct the sessions through video, phone, and even text messages. These various strategies allow patients to show up in different ways whenever they need professional help. Teletherapy is here to stay because it provides numerous benefits to patients. Through this virtual service, mental healthcare can become more accessible to people with different backgrounds, locations, and schedules.

Article contributed by Ruth Ann James

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