The holiday season is the happiest time of year for many people, but not everyone. That’s especially true this year. People have a lot on their plates, from the threat of an economic recession to war in Ukraine and, in some cases, pressure to return to offices they haven’t seen in a few years.
For some, these factors could exacerbate feelings of depression during an already stressful time of year. In fact, 64% of people with mental illness report the holidays make their conditions worse, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Another study found that 88% of Americans are stressed during the holidays.
How can we help them?
Everyone should have access to solutions that help them manage feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. And while there are options for many people who experience these challenges, it’s difficult for working adults to find time to visit a therapist.
Even if they have the time, there’s still a stigma around seeking mental health consultation. Many people suffering from mental health issues believe that going to a therapist is a sign of weakness, or that they don’t have a real medical problem. As a result, they simply don’t go, resulting in 60% of adults with a mental health illness not receiving care.
But mental health is too important to ignore. That’s why it’s imperative that we increase easy access to tools that make it easy for anyone to get the help they need, from anywhere.
Telehealth services make it easier for both adults and children to consult with a therapist without having to take time off from work or school or make a trip to a doctor’s office. That’s because telehealth (or virtual health) allows individuals to meet with a therapist, psychologist, or other mental health professional wherever they have access to a computer screen. That could be via a laptop in the comfort of their homes, a smartphone in a parked car, or elsewhere.
Consultations can take place whenever it’s convenient for the patient. They can easily schedule an appointment when they’re off from work, or even make a last-minute appointment whenever they feel the need to talk to someone.
It’s all about making discussions about mental health easier and more comfortable while delivering the same type of care one would receive when physically visiting a doctor’s office. It’s something that is extremely important to us at EVHC—which is why we’re excited and proud to be taking the lead in telehealth services for mental wellness.
EVHC’s telehealth service is available to everyone ages 12 and up. It provides adults and children with the same type of mental health services they would otherwise receive from an in-person visit and takes them a step further.
For example, developing a rapport with a mental health services provider is critical to successful treatment. EVHC’s telehealth service allows patients to see the same provider repeatedly, just as they would if they were to visit their office. This allows doctors to get to know their patients well so they can optimize their care and helps patients develop trust in their providers.
EVHC’s telehealth services also provide virtual access to primary care physicians (PCP) and specialists. This allows a patient who sees their PCP first to be referred to a telehealth mental health specialist while they’re on a call with their PCP. They never have to make a separate call to make an appointment or leave their home to receive the treatment they need.
Telehealth used to be considered a secondary option for healthcare, but that’s no longer the case. The pandemic showed that telehealth is not only a viable alternative to in-person care but also, in many cases, preferable to taking the time to make an in-person appointment.
Indeed, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calls telehealth “a safe and convenient option for getting mental healthcare at home.” The agency remarked that, thanks to telehealth, people no longer need to find transportation, childcare, or take time off from work, and that “those factors can be important in a long-term treatment plan.”
That’s exactly what needs to be done, and precisely what we’re providing through our telehealth option. By giving people an easier way to connect with mental health specialists, we’re making it more convenient for them to stick to long-term treatment plans that will benefit them for as long as necessary.
Alan Wiederhold is executive vice president at EVHC. Alan oversees EVHC’s strategy for providing brokers and clients with cost-effective health insurance options that save money without sacrificing care. In addition, he is an author, national speaker, and self-proclaimed healthcare nerd focused on creating new strategies for employers.
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