You already know that the new coronavirus dramatically changed lives, schedules, and routines in the space of a week. Did you know that mental health care has changed as well?
Counseling via telehealth has been available for a while, but most mental health practices have stuck primarily with the face-to-face model. In the past week, however, mental health professionals across the nation have quickly (and impressively!) transitioned their practices to mostly or fully telehealth until the coronavirus crisis passes. I am proud of the quick coordination among mental health practitioners, health insurance companies, government agencies, and regulatory bodies that have come together to ensure you get continuity of care during this crisis.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth at Etheridge Psychology refers to connecting clients and clinicians by secure video conferencing. This allows you to get needed mental health counseling while reducing your risk of being infected with coronavirus.
How does it work?
Overall, telehealth works the same as in-person appointments. Our secure, HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform is super easy to use. We just email you a link that you click on when it’s time for your appointment. You can use your phone, tablet, or computer. There’s nothing to download, and you don’t have to create an account. If you have any problems, just call our office.
What’s it like?
If seeing a mental health professional via telehealth sounds weird or uncomfortable, don’t worry. Most people tell us it's more comfortable and natural than they expected, and research has shown that teletherapy is about as effective as in-person therapy.
You should find a private spot with a good internet or cellular connection for your appointment. If you feel uncomfortable seeing your own face on your screen, move back a bit from your device. It will feel more natural. You can also stick a Post-It note over your face on your screen if you find it distracting so you can focus on your counselor.
Will my insurance cover this?
Most health insurance companies have told us that they have relaxed their telehealth guidelines during the coronavirus outbreak and will cover your remote mental health care. You should call your insurance company to make sure it’s covered and that your clinician is in your network.
Will I keep using this after coronavirus?
When it’s safe for you to come into the office, we hope you’ll come meet with your counselor in person at our office in Cary!