According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition, impacting over 19% of the American adult population. And while anxiety is treatable, only 36.9% of those with an anxiety disorder receive treatment. Sadly, the same is true for depression. The condition is widespread and treatable, yet many don’t get help. Luckily, telehealth for anxiety and depression has become much more popular in recent years and might be the very thing needed to instill change.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information through telecommunication services. Patients can receive health care services through phone or video calls. Telehealth covers a broad range of services, including appointments with doctors, counselors, therapists, physical therapists and other providers. This means you can receive digital health care for your physical and mental health.
While telehealth has existed for years, it wasn’t prevalent until recently. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many health care providers had to embrace a digital format, as that was the only way to provide a safe service for patients. Since then, telehealth has continued to be an option in health care across the United States. Now, many people book a telehealth appointment for physical health concerns and opt for online help for anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions.
Benefits of Telehealth for Anxiety and Depression
There are several benefits of telehealth for depression and anxiety.
Increased Access to Care
Telehealth offers increased access to care for patients.
- Individuals who live in remote areas and would have been discouraged by a long drive can now easily get mental health care.
- Individuals with busy schedules can fit telehealth appointments in more easily.
- Counselors and therapists can extend their hours and see more patients because they no longer have to commute to an office.
- Patients with mobility issues no longer have to plan to leave their homes to get care.
Sadly, the stigma around mental health conditions still exists today. If people are embarrassed about their anxiety or depression, they may not feel comfortable walking into a counselor’s office or rehabilitation facility for help. They may worry they’ll be seen by someone they know and judged.
But with the telehealth option, anyone can make an appointment from home without fear of being seen, judged or misunderstood.
Many people tend to address physical health concerns immediately, while mental health concerns are dismissed. Some of us constantly make excuses that we’re too busy to go to an appointment and get our anxiety or depression treated. One study found that roughly 2 out of 3 people with depression don’t actively seek or receive proper treatment for the condition.
Telehealth helps break down this barrier by making mental health care as convenient as possible. You can book an appointment for a time that suits your schedule and do it from anywhere. The convenience of telehealth is that you can take the session at work, home or even in the car.
Some therapists and counselors offer a reduced rate for telehealth services because they understand they save on overhead costs. While this may not always be the case, you should always ask about a sliding scale option if you’re seeking mental health care services via telehealth.
Additionally, telehealth can help make mental health care more affordable because you can access counselors from all over. If you live in a costly area, you may choose to book telehealth services with a professional who’s in a more affordable area.
Types of Telehealth Services Available for Anxiety and Depression
There are two main types of telehealth services available for anxiety and depression.
Virtual Therapy Sessions
Virtual therapy sessions are the most effective telehealth service to treat anxiety or depression. These are one-on-one meetings between you and a mental health professional. During these sessions, you can better understand your condition, learn about your triggers, learn coping mechanisms and discuss what treatment options feel best for you (such as medication or a rehabilitation stay).
Online Support Groups
Online support groups can be beneficial by letting you connect and relate to others experiencing a similar situation. Both anxiety and depression can be very isolating, so having a group of people who understand what you’re going through can be incredibly helpful.
As online support groups don’t offer dedicated one-on-one help between you and a mental health professional, it’s generally recommended that support groups are done in conjunction with therapy sessions.
Success Stories for Using Telehealth for Depression and Anxiety Treatment
Some people still prefer in-person mental health services. But as telehealth has increased in popularity, it’s become clear that this is a valuable service for many people. Here are some interesting statistics to note:
- One study found that 34% of adults prefer telehealth services to an in-person visit (an increase from 31% in 2020).
- The study also found that 45% of younger adults (aged 18 to 44) preferred telehealth services.
- In an analysis of the effectiveness of telehealth care for depression, the results found that telehealth tended to perform as well as in-person care in improving depression severity, patient satisfaction and quality of life.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Telehealth Appointments
While online help for depression and anxiety is just as effective as in-person visits, there are some tips you should follow to ensure you’re getting the most out of your call.
- Choose the right time. You don’t want to rush through your appointment or have to drop the call early. Additionally, having 10 minutes before and after your session can be helpful. You’ll want 10 minutes before to think about what you want to discuss today and 10 minutes post-appointment to decompress and process.
- Choose the right space. Often, mental health care appointments to treat anxiety and depression can be overwhelming. You may not want to have deep, emotional conversations while you’re in the office (and people can potentially overhear you) or while you’re driving (as this isn’t safe).
- Choose the right format. Therapy sessions are typically done via video or phone. Understand which option is best for you. Some people may only want to opt for video appointments, as they prefer to see their therapist’s face throughout the session.
- Ensure you have a stable connection. Test your internet or phone connection before the session starts so your call isn’t dropped or interrupted.
- Limit distractions and get some privacy. Therapy is an incredibly private experience. If you take your session at home, ask your partner to go for a walk or find something else to do so you can speak freely. If you have children who might interrupt your appointment, try to schedule it when they aren’t home.
Anxiety and Depression Treatment at Sun Health Center
You don’t have to live with your anxiety and depression any longer. Both of these conditions are highly treatable. At Sun Health Center, we offer mental health services in a variety of formats, so you can find the treatment program that works best for your lifestyle. Contact us today to find out how we can help you start living better today.