About Allana Wade Coffee, Ph.D.
The popularity of tele-mental health has skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. What was born out of necessity by government restrictions and health concerns, has now become increasingly preferential to in-person doctor’s appointments.
What is the appeal?
Tele-mental health offers a whole new level of accessibility, allowing clients who live farther away, are out of town, or have a physical disability a means to connect with their doctors, despite the distance. With no traveling or commuting needed, doctors and patients can virtually meet at any time or anyplace, so long as they have a telephone or internet connection.
Patients with tight schedules now have the flexibility to work in appointments without having to factor the time it takes going to and from the doctor’s office. The convenience of tele-mental health visits mean less cancellations and delays, providing more consistency in a patient’s treatment and thus facilitating the desired results.
Tele-mental health can also be more comfortable. Patients may feel they are less exposed in a space of their own choosing and therefore can be more direct and vulnerable in their sessions. This can be very beneficial to the overall progress and could deliver better results from the treatment. New patients who formerly worried about the stigma of mental health counseling may find remote appointments more appealing as it affords some level anonymity, not having to physically walk into a doctor’s office. The privacy provided by a tele-mental health visit can foster a sense of openness and help the patient to more effectively engage with their doctor making appointments much more productive.