Mental health issues are becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. Therefore, delivering mental health treatment is crucial. Thanks to technology, online therapy is making mental health treatment more accessible to more people who need it. Online therapy refers to the delivery of psychotherapy or counseling services over the internet. New avenues are developing every day to make online therapy more accessible. The Covid-19 pandemic particularly exacerbated the use and access to online therapy. The following are the pros and cons of online therapy making mental health treatment more accessible:
Online Therapy Is Just As Effective
Therapy is incredibly beneficial for everyone and is one of the best things you can do to cope with life’s struggles. Research shows that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy sessions. That includes treating mental health disorders like depression, social anxiety, and panic disorders. Online therapy has also been shown to be effective in treating gambling disorders.
Walking into a therapist’s office can be quite intimidating. Therefore, online therapy makes mental health treatment more accessible while being just as effective as traditional therapy sessions, which is a great advantage.
Increased Access In Remote Areas
Everyone can suffer from mental health disorders, and anyone can benefit from therapy regardless of how remote they are. Unfortunately, if you live somewhere remote, there may be only one therapist for hundreds of people, and they may be far from you. Online therapy makes mental health treatment more accessible to people in rural areas. As long as someone has a reliable internet connection, they can receive mental health treatment. These people might otherwise never know how to address their mental health issues and suffer all their lives. They can receive treatment and lead lives with excellent mental health thanks to online therapy.
People With Physical Limitations
Some people have physical limitations, for example, people with disabilities or morbidly obese who are primarily housebound. Mobility is a significant issue concerning access to mental health treatment. For example, a therapist with a home office or an office in the Central Business District (CBD) cannot accommodate all types of patients. Therefore, online therapy is helping people with physical limitations access mental health care. For example, a person with anxiety can receive treatment from home until they are confident enough to leave the house and seek in-person treatment.
Another benefit of online therapy is that it offers patients significant discretion. Some people care about their reputation a lot, and being seen going for therapy may ruin their image or business. Therefore, they can use online therapy to still get the treatment they need without the publicity they would otherwise receive. Celebrities are the main culprits in this regard. For example, the news that Ezra Miller who plays The Flash was struggling with his mental health surprised many. Miller decided to seek help after many incidents in the past few months that made his mental health issues very apparent. He can use online therapy to treat his issues while ensuring a high level of discretion which is valuable for a celebrity of his status.
Serious Mental Health Issues
The main drawback of online therapy is that it has not been proven to work for severe psychiatric illnesses that require substantial treatment. Some mental disorders require in-person treatment and close contact, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder. Body language cues like gestures, facial expressions, and various emotions are easier to process in person than through a screen. Things may change with advances in technology, but at the moment, online therapy is not the best solution for serious mental health issues.
Online therapy is changing the delivery of mental health treatment worldwide. It has many benefits, for example, providing discretion, providing care to people with physical limitations, and increasing access to treatment in remote areas, and it is just as effective as in-person therapy. The main drawback of online therapy is that it may not be suitable for severe mental illnesses.