Breaking the Stigma: How Telepsychiatry is Changing Perceptions of Mental Health Treatment
For too long, misconceptions surrounding mental health have prevailed, perpetuated by inaccurate portrayals in media, a lack of information, and limited resources. These misconceptions have given rise to a stigma surrounding mental health disorders, leading to discriminatory perspectives and behaviors towards those who experience them. Sadly, this stigma often prevents individuals with mental health disorders from seeking the treatment they need, driven by the fear of judgment and concerns about how it might affect their lives.
However, there is a ray of hope. A 2019 survey highlighted a significant shift in attitudes toward mental health, with 87% of American adults believing that mental health disorders are nothing to be ashamed of, and 86% believing that people with mental health disorders can improve their condition. This growing acceptance encourages those facing mental health challenges to seek treatment, and the resources for doing so are more prevalent and accessible than ever.
In an era marked by rapid technological advancements, telepsychiatry has emerged as a beacon of hope for revolutionizing mental health care. This innovative approach to psychiatric treatment can potentially decrease the stigma surrounding mental health care in several ways. By expanding access to mental health services, providing greater comfort to patients, and demonstrating its effectiveness, telepsychiatry is changing the face of mental health treatment in the modern world.
Expanding Access to Mental Health Services
One of the significant advantages of telepsychiatry is that it enables patients to receive proper healthcare from psychiatrists nationwide. Psychiatry is one of the top specialties for telemedicine, contributing to the field’s growth, ensuring patients are no longer limited to seeking treatment in-person care in their local community. Before the emergence of telehealth treatment, a scarcity of local mental health resources could deter people from seeking help. Telepsychiatry, however, removes this geographical constraint and allows individuals to connect with specialists no matter where they are located. Expanding options and access to mental health professionals helps break down barriers and increases the likelihood that people will seek help when needed.
Research supports the effectiveness of telepsychiatry, which is crucial in reducing the stigma around mental health treatment. Thanks to the advancement of telepsychiatry, gone are the days when the only access patients had to see a physician was in person. Studies have shown that psychiatric evaluations via telemedicine are just as effective as in-person evaluations. A study published in 2000 found that diagnoses in face-to-face and telemedicine interactions were the same in 96% of patients seen. This evidence demonstrates that telepsychiatry is a reliable and effective form of mental health care. Patients seeking mental health treatment may be more willing to seek care with telemedicine when they know it’s just as reliable as the psychiatrist in the room with them.
Comfortable and Convenient Interactions
While some studies have shown people to prefer in-person visits with their physicians, some have supported the idea that the convenience of telemedicine care is favorable and necessary. Rather than waiting in an emergency department for hours to see a specialist who may not be readily available to see the patient, telepsychiatry allows patients to connect virtually with a psychiatrist quickly. The lack of a person in the room can enable individuals to open up about their mental health struggles without fear of judgment. It reduces the discomfort associated with face-to-face appointments, making individuals more likely to seek and continue treatment. This increased comfort can help diminish the stigma surrounding mental health care, as people feel more at ease discussing their issues and experiences.
Data from 2021 reveals that 65.5% of hospitals have installed a telemedicine solution. Additionally, 76 percent of U.S. hospitals now connect with patients and consulting practitioners at a distance through video and other technology. What does this mean? Telepsychiatry and other telehealth services are becoming a standard model of care. The widespread adoption of telepsychiatry is a testament to its growing acceptance and recognition within the healthcare industry.
Where TeleSpecialists Fits in
At TeleSpecialists, we play a crucial role in reshaping the perception and accessibility of mental health care. As a leader in the telemedicine industry and a provider of TelePsychiatry services, we work closely with our partner facilities to provide the necessary resources for mental health patients. This includes board-certified psychiatrists who ensure patients receive care from trained physicians, with rapid on-screen presence to guarantee they are seen within one hour. We also integrate with hospitals’ existing technologies, enabling psychiatrists to provide documentation and write orders to actively track the status of their patients.
If your facility is seeking to enhance its mental health services, we are here to assist. Please do not hesitate to contact us to learn more about our TelePsychiatry services. Together, we can contribute to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health and ensure that everyone has access to the care they deserve.