The current global health crisis has had a negative psychological impact on the public. Mental health professionals worldwide are doing what they can to provide much-needed help during this time. But, much like with most plans during a crisis, this is easier said than done.
Most countries have implemented lockdowns and nationwide quarantines to promote social distancing. This has prevented most people from getting the help they need. Individuals can no longer visit their mental health care providers; either because they can’t or they don’t want to go out.
Luckily, the digital landscape has emerged as a suitable space for crisis intervention.
Virtual Therapy Sessions
Recently, mental health care providers have started making their services available online. This is in direct response to the immediate need for counseling. Practitioners are using HIPAA compliant software to communicate with patients. This virtual chatting program is designed to adhere to doctor-patient confidentiality laws. Additionally, practitioners now offer online payment methods to make it easier for patients. Some have even reduced their rates in consideration of those most in need.
However, the format is presenting a new challenge to people. Although the format is familiar with teenagers and young adults, older adults are having a difficult time adjusting. Some are choosing to cancel their sessions in favor of waiting out the crisis. Although this is completely understandable, practitioners are encouraging patients to rethink the decision for their mental health.
Where to Get Help
If you didn’t have a therapist prior to the pandemic, there are several options available to you. It’s only a matter of finding the right one for you.
Find a therapist online.
Most of the practitioners who moved online are accepting new patients. Look through an online directory to find one that is available to meet you online. You can also look for a licensed therapist on social media sites. Some sites have private groups where members give recommendations on mental health practitioners. Ask the members of these groups if they can refer you to their therapists.
Ask your healthcare provider.
Some healthcare providers include mental health services in their coverage. Check your plan if these services are covered in yours. Most companies use interoperability platforms, like Julota, to manage their data in the digital landscape. This streamlines several processes, which is helpful now that most people can’t leave their homes. Look for practitioners who are accredited by your healthcare provider to hasten the process.
Talk to a group you trust.
As mentioned, there are several support groups online. If you are uncomfortable speaking with a therapist directly, you can choose to join one of these groups instead. Some are run by professional mental health care providers. They offer a safe space online where people can share their thoughts and feelings in a group of individuals who are going through the same thing.
It is normal to feel anxious during this time. With most of the world unsure of what to do next, it’s understandable why you would need help. Remember that you are not alone and that you have options available to you.