online therapy

Just hearing about Teleservices or TeleMental health?  Wondering what it means exactly or how it could impact you and your medical or mental health services? 

Here are some things you may want to know! 

TeleMental Health has been around for decades but has grown exponentially over the past few years.  Now, due to COVID-19, almost every mental health and medical provider has utilized teleservices in some fashion!  Since the virus outbreak, most government regulations have been relaxed, thereby allowing more providers to be trained to offer teleservices for those needing medical and mental health services.  When crisis occurs, mental health and substance use needs do not vanish.  In fact, many see increased feelings of anxiety, stress, isolation and depression. TeleMental Health services is the answer in continuing to reach those in need of these services and connecting with anyone needing continued, or extra support, during these difficult times.  Individuals need to know they are not alone or forgotten. 

A study conducted by the University of Michigan in 2018 found that the most frequent users of teleservices were psychiatrists at 78%, mental health counselors at 33%, social workers at 24%, psychologists at 16% and substance use counselors at 12%.  Teleservices is not a new method of service delivery and research outcomes show that services delivered electronically is just as effective as face to face, traditional delivery. (See studies by the NCBI and Science daily – links below).

You may ask why are we just now relaxing some of these regulations if teleservices are just as effective as traditional forms of therapy?  Great question and so glad you asked! We hope to see increased relaxation on these guidelines post pandemic for the following reasons and more.  

In an article written by Dr. Michael Greiwe the following are important things to consider about teleservices.

TeleMental Health offers:

  • Increased options for service delivery 
  • Increased Access to services.  Miles no longer matter! Travel, gas money, finding a provider close to the client are all barriers to many individuals when seeking services. 
  • Improves client engagement- especially for those in rural areas
  • Reduces overhead and increases revenue for the business 
  • Reduces no shows and cancellations 
  • Improves client satisfaction.  Recently, Georgia HOPE conducted a survey of almost 500 clients.  The survey showed that 95% of clients indicated they were completely satisfied with the teleservices provided by the agency. 

Additionally, teleservices offer support and recovery-focused services virtually from the comfort of the client and provider’s home.  Providers are able to connect with more clients due to decrease in drive time, traffic, office interruptions and the list goes on and on.   

Our mission at Georgia HOPE is to break down barriers, open more doors to accessing services and reach more individuals in need.  TeleMental Health is the answer to many of these initiatives. We were offering teleservices long before COVID-19 and we plan to continue long after. We will be advocating for the expansion of teleservices to all who will hear us. 

If you’re interested in learning more about our TeleMental Health services, contact us today!

#HOPEisHere

Sources:

*Written by Tonya Parrish MA LPC, Georgia HOPE Clinical Director 

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