In a given year, approximately one in five adults in Texas is diagnosed with a mental health disorder. And more than half of those affected adults with a mental health condition do not receive proper treatment or supervision by a certified, licensed counselor. While there are multiple reasons and issues keeping people from receiving proper treatment today, one variable leading to this statistic is access to quality care.
Consider, for example, the entire United States:
- More than 35 million American adults self-reported needing treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use, and needing mental health treatment.
- There have been nearly 10,000 designated mental health shortage areas across the country, leaving over 100 million people without adequate access to mental health services.
- Therefore, thousands of people in McKinney, Dallas, Plano, Denton, Allen, Dallas Fort Worth, and Garland Texas or additional surrounding communities need mental health therapists to one extent or another.
- With the recent Coronavirus, it has been reported that an astonishing 50% of people are suffering anxiety and depression.
Offering Telehealth as a Temporary Solution
Improving mental health in Texas is not a simple, one-time fix. It requires a re-thinking of how we define healthcare to include behavioral health, moving beyond the stigma so people feel comfortable seeking care, and the coming together of multiple stakeholders and experts to develop new ways to deliver that care.
While the industry works to address the issues that prevent widespread and comprehensive behavioral health services, many providers are looking to improve access to quality mental health care through telemedicine, in general terms.
However, our counseling model is absolute. We firmly believe in person-to-person therapy sessions whether they be short-term or over the longer-term. In order to adapt to the current situation and challenging times that our patients are having to endure, we are offering “Telehealth” video conferencing.
The telehealth method allows our patients to continue a face-to-face therapy session, albeit digital nonetheless, but it reassures every individual that we are only a quick-click away from a chat.
The Benefits of Virtual Mental Health Programs
Data does show virtual mental health counseling is at least as effective — and in some cases, more than — treating anxiety, depression and other disorders compared to traditional face-to-face.
A four-year Johns Hopkins study that included close to 100,000 military veterans found the number of days patients were hospitalized dropped by 25 percent if they chose online counseling. This is slightly higher than the number of hospital visits experienced by patients who used face-to-face counseling.
For Foundations Counseling and patients alike, in addition to the positive health effects, there are numerous benefits to our temporary virtual mental health programs.
- Ease and convenience: patientssimply need a computer, webcam, and broadband internet access.
- Increased access: patients who live in remote areas, who are housebound, who have trouble lining up childcare, or just have too much going on in their lives to make room for regular therapy sessions, now have a connection to mental healthcare.
- Fewer missed appointments: patients are less likely to run into problems when they can meet from wherever they are located in Texas.
- Reach new clients: counselors who offer services virtually can expand their reach to new clients across Texas and reach into some new communities in the surrounding areas.
- Customize care: leveraging a virtual platform, Foundations Counseling is able to turn our focus to how care is delivered through appropriately-timed assessments and tracking trends and progress over time.
Benefits From The Patient Perspective
For patients in Texas, access to a mental health services provider can be life-changing especially given the challenging times. While benefits of virtual mental health services differ from patient to patient, they can include: ease, convenience, privacy, access and increased choice and options.
Our temporary Telehealth services allow patients the ability to fit sessions into their current lifestyle, rather than the other way around.
For example, a patient who needs continued therapy and is seeing a Foundations Counseling therapist using the Telehealth methodology is now able to get the support needed, from an individual who is understanding, non-judgmental and knows how to talk to the patient — since the patient is basically homebound. Having consistent access to this kind of professional support has reduced a patient’s stress and anxiety levels, and given them a sense of calm.
While Telehealth alone cannot fix all the challenges that exist today when it comes to comprehensive access to quality mental health services, it does give us a temporary solution in getting to one step closer. By bridging the gap between a Foundations Counseling therapists and patients — and removing barriers to things like location, transportation and convenience — we can focus on addressing the obstacles that continue to stand in the way of achieving treatment during challenging times related to the Coronavirus.
Foundations Counseling Telehealth Services Saves Times and Increases Access
Our temporary solution using Telehealth puts the Foundations Counseling teams mental health services within reach of men, women, and children who live in rural or remote areas. We continue to serve all patients located in McKinney, Dallas, Plano, Denton, Allen, Dallas Fort Worth, and Garland Texas.
Lastly, with clinical mental health counselors now serving clients over long distances through videoconferencing, travel time can involve just the seconds it takes to walk to one’s laptop. Our innovative counseling model eliminates a client’s need for transportation, and any travel-related costs.
If you are a current patient or know someone who is having a challenging time during the current situation, please contact our highly skilled and professional team of therapists at Foundations Counseling today!