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Breaking the Stigma: How Telepsychiatry is Changing Perceptions of Mental Health Treatment

By: | Tags: , , , , , , , | October 31st, 2023

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.

Demonstrated Effectiveness

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.

Widespread Adoption

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.

Nattasha Acevedo, MD

Dr. Acevedo received her medical degree from the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico and did her neurology residency at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She went on to do a clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Emory School of Medicine in Atla nta, Georgia and then joined private practice in Fort Myers, Florida. She currently resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She likes running, paddle boarding and spending time with family.

Bernadette Borte, MD

Dr. Borte received her medical degree from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine in Grand Cayman. She completed her neurology residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. Her areas of interest include inpatient neurology and acute stroke. When not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family. Dr. Borte joined the TeleSpecialist family in March of 2019.

Mazen Almidani, MD

Dr. Almidani is board certified in pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics and board certified in epilepsy, as well as neurology with special  qualification in child neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.  Dr. Almidani is happily married with 4 children. His oldest son has autism and his daughter has complicated seizures; both were a drive for him to become a neurologist. Dr. Almidani enjoys soccer, running and spending time with his family. He is very involved with his sons’ therapy and helping with daily challenges. He is double board certified in Pediatric and Adult Neurology and Epilepsy. He sees children and adults. He also participates in charities for children in Syria who may be underprivileged and/or affected by the war. Dr. Almidani joined TeleSpecialists in August 2020.

Amanda Cheshire, MD

Dr. Cheshire received her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky. She completed her neurology residency at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She did a fellowship in neurophysiology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Cheshire is double board certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology. She enjoys traveling, reading and music. She currently resides in Viera, Florida.  Dr. Cheshire joined TeleSpecialists in June 2019.

Jessica Floyd, MD

Dr. Floyd completed her neurology residency at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida followed by fellowship training in clinical neurophysiology with focus in EEG and epilepsy at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. She has particular interest in hospital neurology and patient education as well as the blossoming specialty of lifestyle medicine. She strives to take advantage of every encounter with patients and medical staff to empower them to do their own research into how daily thoughts, choices, and habits can add up to create greater and longer-lasting brain and neurologic health for ourselves and our loved ones. She lives in Florence, South Carolina with her awesome husband of 13 plus years and three beautiful children. She is an avid yogi, astrologer, and lover of food and all things neurology! Dr. Floyd joined the TeleSpecialist family in July 2017.

Nancy Futrell, MD

Dr. Futrell received her medical degree from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. She also did her neurology residency at the University of Utah as well as a research fellowship in cerebral vascular disease at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. She currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has authored 2 books and 50 peer reviewed papers. 

Rebecca Jimenez-Sanders, MD

Dr. Jimenez Sanders received her undergraduate degree from Emory University, and her medical degree from the San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. She completed her neurology residency at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, where she also did a specialized headache medicine and facial pain fellowship. She currently resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband and her two daughters. She is also fluent in Spanish and Italian languages, and enjoys photography, baking, boating, and biking.

Cory Lamar, MD

Dr. Lamar received his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He completed his internship and residency at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Following residency, he completed a clinical fellowship in neurophysiology, with a concentration in epilepsy. He currently resides in Florida and enjoys outdoor activities.

Clifford Meyers, MD

Dr. Meyers received his medical degree from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and his MBA from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. He completed his neurology residency at the University of Rochester, where he also did a neurophysiology fellowship. Dr. Meyers resides in Webster, New York with his wife and daughter. When not doing teleneurology, he enjoys playing sports with his wife and daughter.

Tao Tong, MD

Dr. Tong received her medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida. She completed her neurology residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, where she also did a neuromuscular/EMG fellowship.  She currently resides in College Station, Texas. Dr. Tong is married with two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and reading.

Shubhangi Chumble, MD

Dr. Chumble attended BJ Medical School. She is a board certified neurologist with a subspeciality interest in sleep medicine. Dr. Chumble did her residency at Howard University in Washington DC and has practiced neurology since 2001 in private and corporate settings. She lives in Melbourne, Florida and loves the sunshine state. Her hobbies include yoga, meditation, cooking , traveling and meeting new people. She also loves to do stained glass, pottery and painting. She joined TeleSpecialists in June 2019.