Quick Mental Healthcare can be found Online
With a pandemic raging, one often puts their mental health to one side, thinking that “toughing it out” is the best course of action. Fear of entering a therapist’s office and staying in the same room with one for an hour or more sounds intimidating, to say the least.
However, mental health is more important now than it’s ever been; avoiding risky behavior, making good decisions, and just weathering the complexities of living during a pandemic require the mind to stay as healthy as the body.
Thankfully, this is where telemedicine comes in.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the distribution of health-related services through electronic means; this means that you can use various electronic communication devices (your phone, your computer, or other communication devices) to discuss with your physician without having to enter their office.
While some form of remote care has existed almost as long as healthcare itself has existed (one example: Roman temples allowing the infirm to send representatives in their place to discuss illnesses), telemedicine allows for the distribution of health information directly to the patient with the patient not having to leave their home.
The pandemic has caused many traditional doctor’s offices to test rudimentary telemedicine, using conferencing apps for physician visits and some diagnostic visits.
Where does Mental Health fit In?
With the advent of telemedicine, seeing a physician from the relative safety of your home is easier than ever. Most non-urgent healthcare needs can be addressed without having to enter a doctor’s office. And thankfully, this includes mental healthcare.
We have numerous ways to address mental health crises outside of a traditional clinic; the Suicide Prevention Hotline (phone # 1-800-273-8255) can provide you with emergency assistance in the event of suicidal ideations, the Crisis Text Line can assist in mental health crises via text (text HOME to 741-741), and 911 is always available.
Mental healthcare should not begin with crises, however. With the switch to telemedicine in the wake of the pandemic, more therapists are learning how to practice online. If you see a therapist and haven’t already asked, consider asking your therapist if they can meet you virtually.
Some practices even exist solely online; Yana mental healthcare, for example, sets up patients with a doctor who can engage in therapy sessions, on-demand, and can prescribe medication when needed. Such an organization can usually deliver their services at a low cost, as not having a physical office can reduce the overhead that comes with operating a physical office.
Is it Safe?
One of the largest concerns is that using telemedicine to communicate with your doctor online may be unsafe. While this is an understandable fear, you don’t need to fear for your online safety.
While bad-faith actors often attempt to hack hospital records, hacking hospital records is more difficult than one would expect. Hospitals and clinics take the rules of HIPAA (the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, whose rules prevent hospitals from sharing medical information) very seriously; the consequences of violating HIPAA prevent even unscrupulous healthcare workers from risking the sharing of medical information.
Further, medical organizations that use telemedicine use strong encryption to prevent their information from being hacked. This encryption prevents hackers from getting information because they simply don’t have the ability to break the encryption.
Is Mental Healthcare Right for Me?
Mental healthcare does not indicate weakness; if anything, it indicates strength of character, because it means you admit that you need assistance with a mental issue. Seeing a therapist (and, if necessary, beginning a medicine regimen) will assist you in gaining your mental health and becoming a better version of yourself.
If you are having difficulty coping with something in your life, whether it be personal or professional, you should consider seeking mental healthcare; the benefits of receiving positive healthcare far outweigh any possible deficits.