Today, we find ourselves in a world threatened by an unprecedented pandemic — and it’s impacting our mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.” With much of the country under lockdown orders, this is probably an understatement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought uncertainty, altered daily routines, heightened financial pressures, and imposed social isolation for millions of Americans. Addressing the mental health impact of COVID-19 on your employees is very relevant during this time. According to The Mayo Clinic, mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen during stressful times such as we’re currently experiencing, so ensuring continuing care for those with current issues is vital.
If employees involved in ongoing therapy find themselves restricted to their homes during the pandemic, telehealth may be their only option for connecting with their mental health practitioners. And for those seeking out therapy for the first time in light of COVID’s effects, telehealth is a good entry point.
According to Psychology Today, the shift from in-person to online or phone therapy was already in full swing before COVID-19 entered the equation. Recently, however, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services moved to expand the telehealth benefit on a temporary and emergency basis, making it easier to get telehealth covered under insurance.
43.8 million adults in America experience mental illness in a given year, yet 84% of them aren’t getting the care they need. Psychotherapy is a highly recommended treatment plan for those affected by mental illness, but accessing it in the way it has traditionally been delivered is something many employees may find difficult. America’s Mental Health 2018, a comprehensive study of access to mental health care, assessed Americans’ current access to and attitudes towards mental health services. It revealed American mental health services are insufficient, and, despite high demand, the root of the problem is two-fold: barriers in access and the ability to find care.
Telehealth directly addresses the barriers that might be blocking your employees’ way of successfully getting the support they need. Teletherapy, the branch of telehealth dedicated to the delivery of remote mental health services, is a growing solution for those seeking help managing their mental health.
Why telehealth is right for employees
It’s accessible to more people
For employees who live some distance from mental health providers or those with a disability that makes it difficult to leave home, a teletherapy option is highly beneficial. It’s also the easier option for people who spend a lot of time on the road for work, for those who are sick or have an injury and are unable to easily get around, or those suffering from a severe depressive episode.
46% of Americans have had to, or know someone who has had to, drive more than an hour round-trip for treatment. Teletherapy removes many of the physical barriers that prevent individuals from seeking treatment, since your employees are able to see whatever practitioner is licensed in their state of residence no matter where they may be at the time.
It provides flexibility
Ninety-six million Americans have had to wait longer than one week for mental health treatments. Fortunately, Spring Health’s therapists can be readily available at a time that suits your employee instead of during limited office hours. This offers greater flexibility and can encourage more people to seek the right support when they need it most. Employees can also reach out immediately and spontaneously when in crisis without having to wait days or even weeks for a scheduled session.
It offers reduced wait times
Increased flexibility also means reduced wait times for employees needing to speak with a therapist urgently or for those trying therapy for first time. Taking time off from work to make the trip to the therapist’s office, wasting more time in the waiting room, having the session, and then battling traffic to return to work can be a huge deterrent. Being able to simply step into a private room for their scheduled Spring Health teletherapy session then quickly return to “work mode” is a much more viable solution for many office workers.
It creates a more private environment
Nearly one-third of Americans have worried about others judging them for seeking mental health services, and 21% have even lied to avoid telling people. For those struggling with the stigma of seeking therapy, Spring Health teletherapy alleviates the stress of being seen walking into a therapist’s office. Your employees can keep their mental health support as private as they like using teletherapy. Furthermore, some people feel they can open up more when they are in their own private spaces. Teletherapy advances the therapy experience for individuals who feel more comfortable being vulnerable with their practitioner from the comfort of their own couch in their own home.
Spring Health and teletherapy
Spring Health is a comprehensive mental health benefit for employers, and our mission is to eliminate every barrier to mental health.
We believe that mental healthcare is not ‘one size fits all.’ By applying the same scientific principles behind precision medicine to mental healthcare, we can accurately predict the right treatment to the right person at the right time and ultimately accelerate recovery. We call this process Precision Mental Healthcare. It combines the latest technology — including telehealth — with vetted providers, reducing recovery times and lowering healthcare costs. Precision Mental Healthcare pairs each employee with a Care Navigator for hands-on guidance and care coordination.
Spring Health uses data to identify the right treatment for each employee’s needs. After completing a short assessment, employees receive a personalized, evidence-based treatment plan that may include any combination of exercise, digital therapy (telehealth), in-person therapy, medication or more. As you can see, access to teletherapy with best-in-class providers is just one feature of Precision Mental Healthcare and displays how Spring Health is on the cutting edge of satisfying its mission: to eliminate every barrier to mental health.
Now is the time
With COVID-19 increasing the stress and anxiety of individuals, the importance of accessing mental health services is at an all-time high. Spring Health’s comprehensive approach to removing barriers presented by traditional mental health care delivery is timely and relevant in the COVID-19 era. By offering teletherapy to your employees, Spring Health reinvents mental health care for your employees. It makes therapy more accessible, offers greater flexibility, reduces wait times, creates a more private environment, and may be the only option for those bound by their homes during this time.