In an increasingly stressful world, it can feel impossible to stay on top of your mental health. These problems can be made even worse if you can’t make the time to visit a doctor or a psychologist thanks to your busy schedule. Mental health is something that needs to be prioritized, but it can be so difficult to properly make time for it until it’s too late and you get burned out. Luckily, telemedicine exists to help people with busy schedules to properly take care of their mental health.
Telemedicine is experiencing a huge boom in popularity at the moment thanks to the proliferation of smartphones. Now that everyone has a machine in their pocket that allows them to order food, get a date, or buy clothes, medical professionals are using this technology to bring care to people who really need it. Telemedicine is the combination of telecommunications technology with medical or diagnostic advice. It has been in existence for almost as long as telecommunications, but in the past it was mostly used in emergency conditions where medics could not access patients, such as warzones and remote areas. However, in a world where everyone has a smartphone, telemedicine is being utilized for all kinds of everyday care.
Mental health maintenance is one of the ways that telemedicine is being used, and this is happening in many different ways. The first way is that people are accessing primary care physicians via their smartphones to conduct regular medical appointments in a way that is more convenient for them. For busy professionals, it can be hard to make time to visit your doctor’s office, especially if their location or opening hours are inconvenient. This is especially true if your job is particularly high-pressure and taking time off during working hours is unthinkable. Telemedicine means you can access medical advice for a mental condition or get a repeat prescription from the comfort of your own home.
You might be unsure about how a medical appointment over the phone can work, but the truth is that it’s a very easy process. The first step is to log on and either make an appointment or visit a drop-in service, depending on the type of telemedical provider you’re visiting. In either instance, you may have to join a virtual waiting room, but after a short period of time, you’ll be connected with a doctor and you’ll be able to speak to them face-to-face via the camera on your phone. Like any doctor, they’ll ask about your condition and suggest treatment paths for you. For mental health issues, these may involve medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or a combination of all three.
As well as being able to access primary care physicians, telemedicine can allow you to access therapy from psychologists or psychiatrists. You can ask your primary care physician for a telemedical referral or do your own research to find a provider that would work for you. Like using telemedicine for primary care, therapy via your smartphone is surprisingly easy. Using your phone for therapy means that you’re not confined to face-to-face therapy. Indeed, many telemedical therapy services allow patients to use text, phone, and email to speak to their therapists; this can be very useful for people with social anxiety who are nervous to speak with people and seek therapy. For people who have trouble leaving the house, telemedicine can offer them a safe space to access help and health care without forcing them out of their comfort zone. By using telemedicine in this way, you’ll be able to build up to fighting the symptoms of your mental illness in a way that is comfortable and safe for you.
In seeking therapy or primary care for your mental health condition, you may have to get prescriptions for medication. Lengthy waits at pharmacies to fill prescriptions can be triggering for people suffering from some kinds of mental illness, especially if leaving the house is difficult. Telemedical providers can often link directly with pharmacies and send your prescriptions straight to them. This means that your medications will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive to the pharmacy, so you won’t have to wait and inconvenience yourself.
While mental illnesses can be some of the most difficult to live with on a daily basis, telemedicine is truly revolutionizing how mental health patients access their health care. It is a truly patient-centered approach, meaning that people who suffer at varying levels of severity will be able to access health care in a way that puts them at less stress, and thus helps them properly treat their conditions.