Updated: May 7
The need for Mental health has never been greater and telehealth is fast becoming the best way for people to easily seek mental health services. But just because virtual access makes it more convenient, this doesn’t mean you’re necessarily getting the quality help you need and deserve. In fact, many telehealth companies are set up to offer more “band-aids” or quick fixes, they offer fewer face-to-face interactive treatments, and sessions are short. All these features compromise quality treatment and optimal outcomes. With that in mind, Open Mind Health has put together important tips to finding the right telehealth company that provides the best possible care.
Yes, it’s obvious, but it really is the best way to find your mental telehealth company. So, reach out and ask your primary care provider or family and friends for a referral. If the providers have proven themselves, they’ll be the first to be recommended to you.
The short and sweet of it is that membership plans usually cost less than individual sessions and can offer more holistic and comprehensive treatment over time to ensure lasting results and overall wellness. So, compare what’s included with each membership plan. On the surface, some telehealth companies can appear to offer more for less cost but, when you really investigate it, they are providing less overall treatment.
A comprehensive initial assessment determines the best pathway to your mental wellness. It’s not at all helpful to jump right into a standard or generic treatment plan. You need to find a company that offers a thorough and extensive assessment of your history and presenting challenges. It’s too common that mental health providers spend only the first session forming their diagnostic impressions to develop a treatment plan. This is often grossly inadequate. A company offering a more in-depth and detailed assessment phase is critical to fully understand the issues you are going through and forming a treatment plan that truly gets to the "root cause" of your emotional concerns. Only then can full healing take place and can mental wellness be maintained.
Personalized and Holistic Treatment
People seek mental health treatment for multiple reasons. For example, someone experiencing acute symptoms like anxiety or depression may also have longstanding trauma that’s never been adequately addressed. The root causes of acute symptoms like anxiety and depression are typically compounded and result from the effects of experiences like unresolved trauma, grief, loss, relationship difficulties, family dynamics, or workplace challenges. It is only after a thorough initial assessment phase that an experienced and skilled provider is equipped to develop a personalized and staged holistic treatment plan. Sometimes medications are indicated (even short-term) to alleviate acute symptoms and take the "edge off" so that a person is in the best possible position to benefit from therapy and other proven modalities. Some people aren't initially ready to talk in detail about what is troubling them (the pain is too intense), so alternative more expressive types of therapeutic approaches like music therapy and fitness/integrative healing approaches may work best (at least initially).
More Talking, Less Typing
Many current mental telehealth companies offer a “light” version of services primarily through text and email communication. And even with this low-touch approach, companies have been criticized for their slow response, canned replies, and little-to-no personalized interaction. In fact, even some of the therapists at such companies have complained that it takes much longer to build any type of relationship via text. There are very clear benefits derived from deeper emotional processing and this a critical reason you should look for companies that include weekly one-hour video sessions, with between-session availability as needed.
Long Term Results
Evidence-based care exists for a reason. You never want to be someone's guinea pig, particularly with something as important as your mental wellness! Successful treatment approaches are far from being “one size fits all” solutions. One of the major challenges in mental health care is that it runs a huge risk of being highly subjective. Certainly, a strong therapeutic rapport between you and your provider is important in achieving lasting results, but you want to make certain your provider is an expert at evidence-based interventions that are researched and proven to be effective for the actual emotional concerns you are experiencing. It’s best if providers are "eclectic" in the sense that they are skilled at numerous proven techniques and are also structured in their care approach to achieve the best possible results. Only then will you be sure to get to the "root cause" of your issues to ensure lasting results - not merely address only the presenting symptoms.
Finding the right provider requires an adequate dose of carefully selected and staged evidence-based interventions — not a random and diluted mishmash approach.
Mind, Body, and Spirit
The mind and body are complex. The most effective techniques and interventions recognize the important mind-body connection. You want a providers who offer integrative care to help your mind, body, and spirit heal. This is best achieved through providers who have many expert referral sources to complement the services they are offering. Integrative group practices offering networks of diverse expert providers are ideal because, after the initial assessment phase, you can be referred to the absolute best combination of experts in the care network. Where appropriate, such a team can even consult with each other and make referrals to ensure that your mental wellness trajectory is optimized.