Telehealth is something that is new to most
Samaritan Center has not missed a day of offering mental health services to our clients, something that has been a gift – to our clients, and to us. Telehealth has turned into one of the “silver linings” of COVID-19 (see benefits below!), and there is no reason to believe it is not here to stay. But what is it exactly? Whether you have had in-person therapy before or are considering therapy for the first time, telehealth is something new to most.
What is Telehealth?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines telehealth as health care services that use telecommunications and virtual technology to deliver health care outside of traditional health-care facilities. These technologies include the internet and telephone. When we refer to telehealth, we will be referring to therapy and our integrative medicine services.
Benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Greater flexibility and increased access to mental health services
- Therapy on your lunch break
- Fewer transportation barriers (those who do not drive, those who may have car problems, etc.)
- Decreased concern with childcare while in session
- Our committed and creative therapists are able to offer telehealth to anyone age 4+
- Meet the needs of those confined to their home
- Decreased perceived social stigma with mental health care when one receives services in the comfort of their home
- Rural residents able to have access to mental health
- One with chronic pain or other ailments that limit mobility able to remain home
- Fully maintain social distance guidelines
- Stay out of Austin traffic (!!!)
Telehealth services are effective and safe
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year. These statistics were prior to 2020, which has shown itself to be a particularly challenging year, so the numbers may be even higher. Telehealth increases access to therapy AND has consistently been shown to be effective. Therapy via telehealth has been shown to be equally as effective as in-person therapy, especially when it comes to general anxiety, depression, life transitions, and family dynamics.
When comparing virtual visits with office visits, roughly 63% of patients and 59% of clinicians reported no difference in the overall quality of the visit, according to a study published in January 2019 in the American Journal of Managed Care. Samaritan providers maintain the same level of privacy and confidentiality as in-person therapy; all services are provided through a HIPAA-compliant platform, Doxy.Me.
What to expect
Here is the breakdown on the process:
- You make the decision that you can benefit from support from a well-trained, compassionate, empathetic therapist (this is the hardest part for most)
- You call us at 512-451-7337, option 8, and share with our intake specialist your needs and preferences
- Complete the intake paperwork
- You get a Doxy.me link from the therapist you are thoughtfully paired with by the intake specialist
- You go to that link at your scheduled session time, enter your name and the therapist connects with you
- That is it! You are then working towards your goals with your therapist!
Things to consider
You can use your desktop, laptop, tablet, or cell phone. Telephone sessions can occur, though video is preferred, and it is not clear how long insurance companies will be lenient with telephone sessions. Please ensure you have a safe, private space for your session.
Tips to improve your experience
- Use Chrome or Firefox
- Enable your camera and microphone
- Make sure you are not muted
- Wearing headphones can help with privacy and to decrease background noise
- Have lighting in front of you instead of behind you so your therapist can see you clearly
- Usually poor video quality is caused by poor internet connection
- Move closer to your router for better connection
- Used wired connection instead of Wifi if possible
- Close other programs
Wellness from the comfort of your own home
Something new can feel uncomfortable. We hope that this demystifies the new world of telehealth. Again, we can provide therapy and integrative medicine services from the privacy, safety, and comfort you’re your own home. Please give us a call at 512-451-7337, option 8, when you are ready. Stay well my friends!