Wondering if telemental health is right for your teen? There’s evidence that talking to a trained mental health professional over the internet could be beneficial for teens. Let’s go over some of the benefits that come from telemental health.
What is Telemental Health?
Telemental health is referred to by other names, such as telehealth for mental health, e-therapy, or internet counseling. Just as the name suggests, telemental health is online therapy that allows people to meet with a therapist without having to head to an office in person.
A telemental health session usually takes place through video conferencing. It will begin with the patient logging onto a secure website and waiting for their video visit to begin. Then the provider will start the session and things proceed much like they would at an in-person visit, except on a screen.
Research on telemental health indicates there are many benefits for teens, including showing there are good outcomes across many mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression. Let’s go over a few of the major ones:
One of the main benefits of telemental health is its convenience. It puts mental health services within reach of teens who live in rural or remote areas where counselors may be scarce. It allows teens to meet with their counselors when their schedules allow, such as during lunch at school, after extracurriculars, or before school starts. Expanding access to those who may not be able to get mental health help is what this is all about, and it achieves that.
Convenient online counseling also allows for easier continuity of care. If a teen needs a last-minute session with their counselor, they’re able to log on and access the help needed instead of being turned down due to transportation issues. Telemental health can help despite transportation problems, weather conditions, or health issues. It can also connect you to a provider who specializes in your teen’s specific condition on the other side of the state, too far away to realistically meet in person each week.
Easy and Comfortable
For teens, having therapy online can be easy to use and feel more natural to them. Teens and young adults have grown up with technology, and interacting with others via a screen is a normal mode of communication. This can help teletherapy feel more natural for teens to attend rather than in-person counseling sessions.
Because it can feel more comfortable for teens, teletherapy can often feel less intimidating. Many teens and young adults experience difficulty developing rapport with an adult therapist in a face-to-face setting. This can become a barrier to receiving effective treatment, as the therapeutic relationship is one of the most important factors to success in counseling. With online counseling sessions, teens feel more comfortable which can help them build a relationship with their therapist naturally.
Ease of Stigma
In 1999, US Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher identified the stigma around mental health as the most persistent barrier to individuals seeking help. Over 20 years later, this is still true, especially among young people.
Even though public understanding and awareness of mental health have improved in recent times, many teens are concerned their peers will find out they’re in treatment. This means many are going without the help and treatment they need. But with online therapy, teens can access the care needed, judgment-free. They can get help from the comfort of their bedroom while protecting their privacy and anonymity.
While telemental health services are still relatively “new,” research continues to affirm its efficacy. The American Psychological Association found that telemental health is essentially just as effective as face-to-face therapy sessions, but retention rates are higher. It has also proven effective for anxiety, substance use, eating disorders, and depression among teens. And though it is not a substitute for all in-person care, it is a growing and effective alternative for many to receive mental health services.
Get Your Teen the Help They Need
Telemental health is a beneficial service that can help many teens struggling to deal with their mental health challenges. If your teen is struggling, let Equity Associates lend a hand. Our therapy services are highly personalized for one’s unique needs, and with our usage of telemental health, those seeking treatment can do so in the comfort of their home. We’re based in Ridgway, Colorado but can help those anywhere in the state. No matter what, we’re always here to support those who need us.