Taking good care of yourself in this fast-paced world can be a challenge. Most of our days are filled with the duties of everyday living; commuting, long work hours, and taking care of the family. Self-care often takes a backseat to everyone else’s needs. When we do find time for self-care most of our focus is on the physical; working out and preparing healthy meals. We often ignore creating habits that will improve our mental health.
When people start to feel mentally unhealthy they are often too ashamed to get help because there is such a stigma around mental health in our society. Then there are the barriers to care like lack of access due to not having insurance or money. Even when people do have either of these things and call to seek help, they often run into long waiting lists that might be several months out. This backlog is often caused by a lack of providers. There needs to be an easier way for someone who is suffering to get the help they need.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) approximately 20% of American adults experience a mental health crisis in any given year. Mental health illnesses cause a significant impact on the individual and our society.
Some of the major problems caused by untreated mental health issues include:
- Absenteeism: This occurs when an employee misses a day of work because they might not feel mentally well. Untreated health issues without time off can often lead to getting fired or lost wages.
- Presentism: This implies that an employee might be present at work but not fully-engaged because of distractions due to poor health.
- Lack of Engagement in Life: Depression can manifest in despondence and general lack of interest in daily tasks.
- Physical manifestations: Untreated mental health conditions can often present in physical pain, stomach issues, migraines or worse.
- Addictions: Often people who suffer from mental health issues turn to drugs, alcohol, sex or food for relief. The combination of mental health illness and addiction is often deadly.
- Suicide: Some resources say mental illness is associated with 90+ of all suicides.
Telehealth has emerged over the past few years and is becoming a standard way that practitioners engage with patients. Tele-health visits can be taken anywhere a smartphone or computer can get service. Additionally, they offer privacy and save time and money for everyone involved.
Companies like BetterHelp offer its users around-the-clock telehealth access to mental health professionals anywhere a person might be. Having this access is so important whether you’re having a mental health crisis or if you are practicing self-care and scheduling a mental tune-up. Also, anonymity allows people who might be feel shamed because of the stigma to have access to professional advice in the privacy of their own home.
Telehealth is removing many of the barriers to low cost guaranteed access mental healthcare for uninsured individuals. Though this doesn’t remove all the barriers to mental healthcare, telehealth has been monumental and effective in getting us one step closer to solving the mental health crisis issue in our country.