Telemental health is a form of healthcare in which services are offered directly to the client’s/patient’s home through telecommunications technology such as videoconferencing, phone calls, texting, and e-mail (Pruitt, Luxton, & Shore, 2014). Telehealth apps have developed to support service providers and telemental health has been utilized to treat a diverse array of mental health conditions including mood disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia (Pruitt et al., 2014). Research has shown that the effectiveness of telehealth services is also comparable to in-person settings (Pruitt et al., 2014). Telehealth also help with other factors related to treatment such as treatment attendance and satisfaction due to reduced travel and shorter wait time. Telehealth is especially helpful for individuals who have difficulty leaving the home or who are in rural locations where providers may not be offering services (Pruitt et al., 2014). Some clinicians argue that connecting over a screen may get in the way of truly connecting with a therapist. However, telehealth has allowances for more contact between therapist and client. One main drawback, however, of telehealth is privacy concerns and unstable technology or connections (Pruitt et al., 2014). The therapist cannot control if someone comes into the room in the patient’s house or may have difficult verifying if the patient is actually their patient (if it’s a first session). Disruption of service through poor technology can also occur. However, these drawbacks do not appear to outweigh the benefits if the proper precautions are taken.
If you are interested in telehealth for yourself or a loved one, please contact Mountainview Counseling today about our telehealth options.
Pruitt, L. D., Luxton, D. D., & Shore, P. (2014). Additional clinical benefits of home-based telemental health treatments. Professional Psychology, Research and Practice, 45, 340-346. doi:10.1037/a0035461