Author: Allison Esber, MSSA, LISW, OCPSA, Systems Initiative Manager at Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery
Whether you are new to professional mental health support or have been in treatment before, help is here. Telehealth provides video and/or telephone counseling support due to increased worry, stress, loneliness, and other factors. Intake, assessments, and treatment can be done safely from the comfort of your home, and all the important things like privacy, confidentiality, and the ability to get services regardless of your financial situation still apply. So if you’ve noticed significant changes in your mood; if you’re involved in behaviors that concern you; or if for any other reason you think you could benefit from talking with a counselor, you’re not alone. Anyone can find a trusted, local provider today at StarkMHAR.org/care-network.
Here are three common questions about Telehealth, and their answers:
What kind of technology do I need to have a Telehealth appointment?
The technology for a telehealth visit can vary by the type of appointment, individual organization, and insurance provider. It is encouraged that you check with your healthcare provider and insurance provider to determine what is required prior to your appointment.
Typically, you will need capability to use audio and visual technology, such as a computer or cell phone with a camera and microphone- most smartphones have these capabilities built in. You may wish to use headphones to help limit the information that others around you may hear. You will also need to have an internet, WiFi, or cellular data connection. As part of Telehealth, providers are required to utilize a private platform, providers should not utilize anything public such as Facebook Live or another social media application.
If my counselor’s office is open, can I still do Telehealth instead if I prefer that?
Healthcare providers and insurance providers may have different requirements for completing an appointment. It is recommended that you contact your healthcare provider and insurance provider prior to your appointment to determine if the session is allowed and will be covered as Telehealth appointment.
Will I get the same results as going in person?
Taking care of your behavioral and mental health is extremely important to overall wellbeing and coping and should not be delayed. With new laws and regulations, healthcare providers are able to provide Telehealth services even if you are a new patient, so your first and following appointments may all be able to be provided by Telehealth, as long as the healthcare provider and insurance provider both allow. It is encouraged to contact both the healthcare provider and insurance provider to determine coverage.
There are few services that must be performed in person, these are typically more intensive services that require a patient to stay overnight, which may include inpatient psychiatric services or crisis stabilization, and medically monitored detoxification services or residential services. If you are in need of these services, providers are taking all required and recommended health precautions to ensure patients health and safety and minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Remember, mental health is health, and treatment providers are open and ready to help.