Online therapy provides users access to a variety of therapy services offered by qualified and skilled practitioners from the comfort of their own home. There is no denying technology has impacted nearly every aspect of life and therapy is no exception. Secure platforms have been developed to allow the general public to connect with a licensed therapist through a variety of mediums including chat rooms, phone calls, and video sessions. Nowadays, there are different tools that support online therapy, from telehealth applications to smartphone applications.
The advantages of online therapy are several, from closing the gap between a shortage of qualified mental health professionals in an area to reaching out people who live in rural areas, far away from a clinic. Additionally, online therapy can also reach people who have very busy schedules and can’t spare the commute, or those are not too comfortable with face to face appointments.
The main advantages of online therapy are the following:
More personalised treatment
Telehealth and mHealth solutions are tools that can be used to personalise the treatment of individuals with a mental illness. Based on the individual, you can select the tools and features a person could find useful, such as pushing clinical questionnaires on their smartphones, answering electronic self-assessments, accessing psychoeducation, scheduling video sessions or teaching them self-care.
Furthermore, since the use of eHealth itself can help individuals to access psycho-education online, this means more time spent on face-to-face or online sessions.
Mental health professionals offer their patients therapy and counselling, however, without the person’s motivation to get better and hard work therapy may not be enough. Digital tools are designed to keep individuals motivated and have a more active role in their treatment, which tends to produce better results.
Nevertheless, digital tools are not only about motivating, but they also help with patient empowerment since they track a person’s behaviour over time, so they can take credit for their progress over time.
Therapists offer the best therapy and guidance they can, unfortunately, they cannot always be there to help; therefore, individuals need to learn to face their problems alone. By providing these individuals with an mHealth solution, they have access to valuable information that can be useful if their symptoms appear, and write down any comments on how they felt, so clinicians and individuals can review the situation together.
Helps people who otherwise wouldn’t receive any treatment
Many people who need mental health treatment have to wait endlessly to get an appointment if they manage to get any treatment at all, however, the demand for mental health services is on the rise. This problem can be easily solved with online therapy, which has proven to be, over the last few years, as efficient in-person therapy.
One of the greatest challenges the healthcare systems face is the long-term care of individuals with severe mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, since the impact this has on individuals, families and societies is huge. Fortunately, some of these issues can be partially solved with the use of mHealth technology since it helps healthcare professionals to have under their care more individuals with fewer resources.
As Dr Margaret Chan, former Director-General of the World Health Organization, said: “We must find ways to make sure that access to mental health services becomes a reality for all men, women and children, wherever they live.”