COVID-19 has brought with it a significant amount of damage worldwide. Everywhere you look, there are news reports of thousands of people testing positive. Video images of patients hooked up on ventilators. Death tolls increase by the day. As if this weren’t bad enough, there are also the ramifications that have come from attempts to control the pandemic. For some, it’s hours reduced at work. For others, it’s job loss in an economy that already makes it difficult to look for additional employment opportunities. And, if you have an immunocompromised loved one at home — or are vulnerable yourself — a short trip to the grocery store can feel like a nightmare.
Tired yet? Because if you have children at home, you are also tasked with the responsibility of schooling them. In the aggregate, it’s the perfect storm for a myriad of individuals to become overwhelmed, anxious, and/or depressed. Have you taken a moment to preserve your mental health? While it may sound impractical to look into therapy at a time when waiting rooms may be teeming with virus particles, there are still available options. This is where telehealth comes in.
Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health
One of the biggest problems with COVID-19 is the uncertainty. It’s one thing to make life modifications for a specific time period. But when you don’t know for how long it will continue, your mental health may start to suffer — and the effects may be long-term.
The World Health Organization has several tips to help you deal with the additional stress caused by the pandemic — such as keeping informed, establishing a routine for your entire family, and minimizing the amount of news you watch. But, if you’re constantly feeling hopeless, you’re starting to abuse drugs and/or alcohol, or you’re undergoing a traumatic experience, it may be time to seek therapy to preserve your mental health.
What is Telehealth? How does it work?
Telehealth offers virtual medical appointments. You meet with a psychiatrist or another board-certified mental health professional through video teleconference. While they are not a substitute for emergency services, they provide a viable alternative for people who need a medical consultation for non-life-threatening conditions. The services provided are by the same doctors you would see in person under ordinary circumstances. It’s also a way to minimize exposure to the novel coronavirus — for you as well as for healthcare professionals.
5 Benefits of Online Mental Health Services
1. Obtain Services from Anywhere
COVID-19 has displaced many individuals. Some have had to move in with family, or temporarily relocate while they rearrange their lives to this new reality. Getting mental health and psychiatric services via telehealth means that you don’t have to worry about coordinating how to get to appointments — or worry about missing them if you have to be out of town.
2. No Waiting Rooms
Visiting any healthcare facility during the COVID-19 pandemic may induce even more stress and anxiety than usual. Although hospitals and medical offices are going above and beyond to keep everything sanitized, you can’t control the behavior of other patients. Scheduling telehealth appointments for your mental health means you won’t be exposed to anyone who may be asymptomatic but still carry the virus.
Since you can attend telehealth appointments from anywhere by using your phone, you don’t have to worry about making time for traveling. You also have the flexibility of scheduling video conference calls at the times that are most convenient for you. For example, if you’re homeschooling your children, you can do a call before or after dealing with such responsibilities — without having to rush back home to get everything done.
4. It Ensures Continuity of Care
If your mental health professional determines you would benefit from taking prescription medications, they can write you a prescription and send it to a pharmacy, without needing you to risk your health to pick it up. It’s also an easier way to coordinate follow-up consultations and let them know about new developments — without the risk of cancellations due to the spread of COVID-19.
5. It Can Save You Money
Telehealth appointments are often lower in cost than in-office appointments. They are also usually covered by health insurance. At a time of such uncertainty and job insecurity, being able to save money provides additional relief for families who are already struggling financially.
If You Need a Virtual Medical Consult, Let Us Help You
At St. Hope, we serve many patients living with a myriad of medical conditions. We believe that treating people with compassion is as important as the medicine they receive. We foster a trusting patient/medical provider relationship to ensure that everyone who walks through our doors feels comfortable and receives the care they deserve — and we do so in-person and online.