There is no doubt about it, we are living in unprecedented times. The drastic, restrictive measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 have left many of us feeling like our lives resemble a scary Hollywood Sci-Fi film. The medical uncertainties surrounding this new virus coupled with disruptions to some of our most basic daily routines have led to heightened levels of stress and anxiety. The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to an increase in the public demand for both medical and mental health services, but how do we access these services without increased risk of exposure to the virus?
Adapting to our New Normal – Telehealth in the Age of Covid 19
As has been the case throughout history, thriving during difficult times requires adjustment and innovation. Today, healthcare providers and clients are adjusting to their new normal and meeting public needs through the increased use of what we refer to as telehealth. Telehealth allows medical and mental health providers to meet virtually with clients from the comfort and safety of their own home or office using secure, interactive videoconference software. Telehealth is bridging the gap between people and their healthcare providers by enabling everyone, especially at-risk and symptomatic individuals, to remain at home while also receiving the much needed medical and mental health support they need during this public health crisis. Research around telehealth has consistently shown it to be highly effective and comparable to in-person care (Hilty et al., 2013)and offers the following benefits to clients :
- Client can participate in treatment from their own home or other secure, safe environment
- Client is not limited by geographic location – increases choice of practitioners
- Decreases client’s transportation concerns (travel time, costs)
- Decreases client’s travel time
- Increases client’s ability to meet virtually during inclement weather conditions
- Decreases spread of communicable diseases
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, federal and state governments including CT are moving swiftly to give people increased access to mental health care through increased coverage of telehealth sessions. Some states are offering license reciprocity that allows CT mental health practitioners to conduct telehealth sessions with established patients who are temporarily not in the state. Additionally many insurance companies are expanding their telehealth policies and waiving co-pays for telehealth sessions with both medical and mental health practitioners.
Here at Shoreline Psychotherapy & Behavioral Health (SPBH), we are committed to serving the mental health needs of our community.
We understand the stress of our new normal. We are presently offering confidential, telehealth sessions using user friendly videoconferencing that allows you to meet with a highly trained therapist from the safety of your own home. We care for clients of all ages and stages including young children, adolescents, adults, and families. The fluidity and uncertainty of the present situation combined with the stress of school, business, and office closures can feel overwhelming. SPBH is here to help you and your family navigate this challenging time.
Written by Katya Musacchio, MS, LPCA
Hilty, D. M., Ferrer, D. C., Parish, M. B., Johnston, B., Callahan, E. J., & Yellowlees, P. M. (2013). The effectiveness of telemental health: a 2013 review. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association, 19(6), 444-454.