Telehealth has rapidly evolved from a supplemental service to an indispensable aspect of mental health treatment. As the world navigates unprecedented challenges, the role of telehealth in providing accessible and effective mental health care has gained immense recognition and importance.
Healthcare authorities and research bodies emphasise the critical role that telehealth plays in ensuring the safety and continuity of mental health services. This digital evolution has brought forth a myriad of advantages, elevating the accessibility and effectiveness of mental health services. Here’s a comprehensive look of the benefits that telehealth offers within mental health treatment:
- Necessity Turned Essential: Telehealth for mental health treatment has shifted from being an exception to becoming an indispensable necessity, emphasising its pivotal role in healthcare.
- Vital Role of Practitioners: Registered Health Practitioners are at the forefront, working diligently to ensure people’s safety in a fast-changing environment.
- Therapeutic Alliance: Extensive research, supported by the Australian Psychological Society (APS), confirms that telehealth maintains a comparable quality of the therapeutic alliance to face-to-face interactions.
- Equal Effectiveness: Practitioners in Australia have observed similar outcomes and standards of clinical and cost effectiveness, patient acceptance, and safety in telehealth counseling compared to in-person sessions.
- Efficacy in Various Conditions: Telehealth has demonstrated effectiveness in treating depression, anxiety, OCD, insomnia, and aiding in alcohol reduction, showcasing results akin to face-to-face care.
- Trauma-Focused Benefits: Clients with trauma find solace in telehealth; they can share more comfortably from their safe spaces. Therapies like EMDR, involving independent bilateral stimulation, are facilitated.
- Enhanced Flexibility: Flexible session timings enable quicker and consistent access to mental health support, reducing the need for travel.
- Cost and Time Efficiency: Reduced travel time and associated costs coupled with reduced waiting times make telehealth a more convenient option.
- Work and Family Balance: Clients can attend sessions without taking leave from work or arranging childcare, supporting a better work-life balance.
- Accessibility: Telehealth breaks barriers, providing access to mental health services for those in rural or inaccessible areas.
- Clinician Choice: Clients have a wider range of clinicians to choose from, not limited to services within their locality.
- Accessibility for the Frail: For individuals who are house-bound or frail, telehealth eliminates the need for travel.
- Couples Therapy Ease: Couples in different locations can seamlessly join mutual therapy sessions.
- Continued Care: Clients can continue therapy even while away on holiday or business trips.
- Observing Habitual Spaces: Clinicians gain insight by observing clients in their habitual spaces, offering a holistic understanding.
- Focused Interaction: Telehealth enables a more focused observation of clients’ facial expressions and voices.
- Privacy Control: Clients can shift away from the camera for privacy or to compose themselves.
- Continuity During Outbreaks: Telehealth ensures ongoing support, crucial during health outbreaks or pandemics.
While acknowledging that some individuals might prefer face-to-face counseling, telehealth presents a vital alternative for many. The diverse advantages it offers underscore the importance of providing multiple avenues for mental health support, emphasising the significance of personalised care.
At Creating Change Psychology, we understand the significance of offering flexible mental health services. Our psychologists provide dedicated telehealth services, ensuring accessibility and tailored support for all individuals, acknowledging that the more options available, the better the support for those in need.
In conclusion, the broader range of options available—whether in-person or through telehealth—empowers individuals to find the approach that best suits their needs. Ultimately, in the realm of mental health care, diversity in treatment options translates to increased accessibility and improved outcomes for all.
*Facts obtained through AHPRA, APS & HCF
Written by Senior Psychologist Dr. Debbie Collaros