Recently, articles and memes about the virtues of “self-care” have flooded the online space. It seems like everyone knows that taking care of yourself is important to your mental wellbeing.
However, prioritizing mental health is easier said than done. A 2018 study found that one in two patients with standing therapy appointments had missed their appointments on multiple occasions.
The reasons varied, but the bottom line is that people don’t use mental health services nearly as much as they should.
What’s causing this discrepancy? Where to begin…
First, there’s the unfortunate stigma around seeking therapy. Then, there’s the cost.
Even if a patient already pays a lot for their health insurance, mental health is not always covered. Beyond that, it can be inconvenient if you have to leave work early, arrange care for a dependent, or commute a long distance to get to your appointment.
Fortunately, telemedicine is revolutionizing mental health care by making it easy for people to access private, affordable, and convenient health services from a phone or computer.
Read on to learn:
· What telemedicine is
· How telemedicine makes it easy to prioritize your mental health
Telemedicine, or “telehealth,” connects licensed medical professionals, like doctors and psychologists, with patients via phone or computer. While the medium can vary by provider, telemedicine sessions are typically conducted through a video call.
Telehealth providers are licensed medical professionals who adhere to HIPAA guidelines. That means they conduct these virtual visits over encrypted platforms to protect your privacy.
During a virtual visit, doctors can do many of the same things that they can do during an office visit — including consulting, diagnosing, and prescribing medications. If a doctor can’t solve your problem through a virtual consultation, they can help you schedule an office visit, refer you to a specialist, or send you to get tests done.
Telemedicine services are not to be confused with health insurance. Telehealth can come as a benefit of the health insurance plan you already have or services can be purchased independently to expand your access.
There are many misconceptions around the use of telemedicine for mental health services.
Some think therapists aren’t legally allowed to offer their services through telehealth means. Or, if you can make a virtual therapy appointment, you won’t get the same level of service as you would at an in-person appointment.
However, the truth is that connecting with a licensed mental health professional over the phone or via video call can be a better, more convenient experience than a traditional office visit. Receiving telehealth therapy alleviates many of the roadblocks that prevent people from getting the help they need.
Here’s how telemedicine makes it easy to prioritize mental health.
According to Thervo, the average therapy session costs between $60 and $120. Even with insurance, you might have to pay as much as $50 per session as a copayment.
If you attend therapy once a week, you end up spending $200 a month on mental health copays alone — that’s on top of the cost of health insurance.
Because mental health services are often viewed as non-essential, it can be easy to internalize that mindset and let therapy fall to the bottom of your financial priorities. Instead of seeing that $50 copay as an essential investment in your wellbeing, you wonder if it would be better spent on groceries, rent, or other non-optional expenses.
The beauty of telemedicine is that it doesn’t make you choose between your mental health and your bills. Leading telemedicine services offer unlimited mental health appointments with $0 copays.
Student mental health is suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. A significant plurality of both men and women have been feeling overwhelmed, have difficulty sleeping, feel mentally exhausted, and feel lonely. These are significant issues currently affecting students, which can result in severe consequences for their academic and athletic lives.
Given the self-isolation that has been mandated in virtually every part of the country at one point during the pandemic, a large number of students are feeling the repercussions of that isolation. Thankfully, telemedicine can act as a path to better mental health during these challenging times.
CoMediCard is a new telemedicine-for-students product that was specifically designed with college and university students in mind. Thanks to this product, students everywhere have the ability to receive 24/7 access to a licensed US physician. Students who are studying abroad within the US can also receive the help they need in their native language.
CoMediCard helps in three major areas: primary care, dermatology, and mental health. Thanks to an exclusive partnership with Teladoc, colleges and universities across the nation have already started benefitting from services that assist individuals exposed to COVID-19.
Communication is available 24/7 with qualified professionals, from the comfort of a student’s dorm or apartment. This unprecedented access ensures students get the help they need. Telemedicine for students should not break the bank, yet still offer quality support.
CoMediCard is associated with 90 Degree Benefits, owned by Blue Cross Blue Shield Alabama, making this a new, yet verified, method of providing essential mental health services to students and student athletes who need it, while doing so at an affordable price.
Teladoc and CoMediCard want to do their part in providing solutions to the massive challenges facing students in these difficult times. Providing inexpensive 24/7 mental health support is one major way they are doing just that.
When it comes to health, emergencies can’t wait. You wouldn’t wait a week to treat a broken bone. So why would you wait that long to seek help for a panic attack, suicidal thoughts, or severe depression?
When you’re enrolled in a telehealth service, you can get the urgent help you need on demand. Telemedicine connects you with a psychologist or psychiatrist in a matter of minutes, not days.
Contrary to popular belief, you won’t have to speak with a different therapist every time you use a telemedicine service. Just like in-person therapy, telehealth allows you to continue treatment with a consistent mental health professional.
When you work with a therapist who already knows your story, you maximize the progress you can make in each session.
Accessing mental health services via telemedicine is more convenient than getting therapy the traditional way.
Telehealth gives you your time back by eliminating the need to commute to and from your doctor’s office. An hour-long virtual therapy session is exactly that — one hour. Compare that to the hour and a half to three hour time commitment of a traditional session, when= factoring in travel time.
Furthermore, it can be extra challenging to leave home to access mental health services if you have children or elderly family members to take care of — not to mention the additional cost of a babysitter or senior caregiver.
With telemedicine, you can take an appointment and stay home with your loved ones at the same time. Virtual therapy via telemedicine is a less disruptive way to take advantage of mental health services.
Taking care of your mental health is as critical to your wellbeing as taking care of your physical health. Unfortunately, mental health is often deprioritized by people who could benefit from it due to the stigma, costs, and time associated with getting treatment.
The good news is that telemedicine makes it affordable and convenient to speak privately with a licensed mental health professional. There are so many benefits of telemedicine that make it worth having access to.
CoMediCard offers zero copay telemedicine services in mental health, general practice, and dermatology. For just $29.95 per month, you and your family members can have unlimited calls with licensed mental health professionals, physicians, and dermatologists.
CoMediCard is not an insurance product and is not a substitute for health insurance or normal preventative health care. Enroll today.