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Modernizing Mental Health Support

The numbers are sobering: It is estimated that 1 in 5 U.S. adults suffers from a mental health disorder. More than 50 million Americans carry the burden of conditions like depression, anxiety, and more. These mental health issues impact patients from all walks of life:

  • Young adults aged 18-25 have the highest prevalence of mental health issues (33.7%​).
  • Mental health disorders are more frequently diagnosed among females (27.2%).
  • Veterans face a 50% higher risk of suicide compared to the general population.

Mental health struggles can be overwhelming and isolating, leading many to suffer in silence rather than get the care they need. Stigma and access barriers compound the suffering.

New Solutions to a Pervasive Problem

The good news is virtual mental health services are helping more patients receive care. While patient use of telehealth for non-emergent outpatient care has leveled off since the pandemic, more than a third of mental health visits are still being conducted virtually.

Patient in a Virtual Mental Health Session

 Virtual behavioral health has become an integrated part of the modern care model. The normalization of virtual options is a game-changer for patients struggling with mental health issues. Privacy, access, and convenience are a few key benefits.

Privacy: Virtual visits offer patients the same privacy and human connection as an in-person therapy session from the comfort and safety of home. Many young adults prefer the digital format for discussing sensitive issues and feel more at ease communicating through screens. Evidence suggests that this format reduces the stigma associated with seeking mental health care​.

Access: Virtual mental health visits also break down geographic barriers and allow care teams to align patients with providers who share their cultural or linguistic backgrounds to promote engagement and health equity. In the face of a severe gap between staffing supply and patient demand within behavioral health, tele-psych introduces new ways to connect declining clinician pools to the growing number of patients seeking care.

Convenience: Patient interest in virtual mental health is also a reflection of the times. Familiarity with technology is more common now and a preference for more convenient, digital communication is driving usage. Providers similarly benefit from the convenience of conducting therapy sessions virtually.

Meeting Patients Where They Are

The current rate of sustained tele-psych engagement is a byproduct of smart healthcare organizations meeting their patients where they are. The success of virtual mental health services underscores the effectiveness of hybrid care models that offer patients and care teams multiple ways to engage.

By meeting patients where they are, we can help more people get the support they need without judgment or obstacles.

In a world where so much of life happens online, integrating virtual behavioral health services into care delivery just makes sense. It’s a path to more accessible, inclusive mental health care for all. A healthcare landscape that’s void of digital engagement avenues is already behind.

Learn how the Caregility iConsult application can support your behavioral health program.

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