Mental illnesses have been ignored by many for a long time. This has seen more and more patients suffer in silence for fear of ridicule or, worse, being considered broken. In the US, a fifth of adults and a sixth of youths suffer from mental illness. In third-world countries, the statistics are far worse. In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in this area. More people are now seeking help while nations, organizations, and individuals create awareness of the same. Technology has also addressed and treated mental health issues. Patients can now access online sessions through internet and phone-based sessions. Despite these sessions being available through the touch of a button, many people, including clinicians, are still skeptical about using them. Below is a comprehensive review of the pros and cons of using these services to clear your doubts.
1. More Accessible
Patients suffering from mental health have a better chance of addressing their problems as soon as they undergo a crisis. This is impossible when attending traditional sessions since you have to book an appointment except in extreme cases. Online therapy sessions can be conducted any day and any time since some platforms offer 24/7 sessions all year round. This ensures timely treatment to avoid deterioration. Additionally, you can schedule your appointment at your convenience. This eases the pressure to adjust your schedule. The sessions are convenient for patients who live far away from their therapist, housebound, or are physically challenged.
Online therapy is affordable, and most patients can afford it. Some sessions are free, and this allows even the most vulnerable to get help. Some patients were previously forced to drive for long hours or even take flights to attend their sessions. Nowadays, all they have to do is top up their phones or use free Wi-Fi to proceed with the session.
Where sessions are not free, some insurance companies are meeting this cost. This eases the burden on the patient, and they focus more on getting better.
Despite strides made in creating awareness on mental health issues, many are still afraid of getting stereotyped. Additionally, people holding high ranks or are popular fear getting recognized. Teletherapy helps them get treatment and maintain their anonymity as they can now access sessions without registering or even exposing their phone numbers to therapists. Some patients are more comfortable speaking to strangers making these sessions a preferred option. Additionally, you can make the calls from the comfort of your home without ever letting the cat out of the bag.
1. Privacy Breach
Tech world suffers from cyber-attacks, and teletherapy platforms are not exempt. Hackers can easily access and share patients’ information without their consent. Additionally, they might interfere with databases used to store information leaving no trace of your medical history and progress. This ruins the progress made and forces you to start over or assist in the recreation of your profile. This can be time-consuming and challenging to relive past events. Additionally, the registration process leaves a trail online that can be traced back to you. This forces many to stay away from these platforms for fear of the unknown.
Some platforms offer limited time for each patient, and this might not be enough for you. Additionally, time zones can be a challenge when living in different geographical locations. When you are out of airtime or lack a stable Internet connection, these sessions cannot occur. Additionally, despite some platforms having toll-free numbers and easy registration processes, it might take a while to get matched with a therapist. This makes them inconvenient for those looking for fast assistance.
3. Can Be Costly
Where toll-free numbers and free Wi-Fi are unavailable, you might feel the effect of long sessions as they significantly increase the internet or phone bills. Some insurances do not meet the costs incurred during these sessions and force you to dig deeper into your pocket. Additionally, while paying for sessions offered from a different country, the exchange rate affects how much you part with for a session. This can be costly when rates increase.
4. Lacks Familiarity
Teletherapy sessions conducted through phone calls leave therapists guessing a lot since they cannot read the patient’s body language. This makes it hard to give a diagnosis and offer treatment correctly. Some platforms do not match patients with specific therapists. Their platforms operate like call centers, and patients are assigned the next available therapist. This makes it hard for follow-ups, and patients find it time-consuming to repeat their problems over and over again.