The mental health field is an ever-changing barometer of public needs, coupled with growing technological advancements.

Mental health professionals, especially psychiatric nurses, are in high demand in the face of reports of shortages. The need for successful and effective access to treatment for substance use disorders and mental illness will continue to grow, especially in rural areas.

According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five Americans has a mental health or substance abuse issue—children are just as likely to need treatment as adults. Across the country, many patients are burdened with unmet needs, which is where telehealth comes in.

Telehealth services might be considered relatively new, but even in its early phases, many psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs), therapists, psychiatrists, and mental health workers are expanding their practices to treat patients reliably.

RELATED: How Do Telephone Triage Nurses Assess and Advise Patients?

Mental health treatments do not rely on a physical exam or contact to treat medical conditions. Most mental health sessions rely on emotional connections and the ability to hold conversations. Often, a video platform is sufficient for creating a safe space, taking the place of the traditional in-office visit. During times of crisis or natural disasters, telehealth psychiatric sessions can remove stress and fears that come with traveling beyond the safety of one's home.

Telehealth services can impact mental health by addressing the nationwide shortage of mental health professionals. Now, a psychiatric nurse can extend their geographic sessions and treat patients who are hundreds of miles away.

Through remote video sessions, many mental health workers can safely treat a number of patients that they would not usually have been able to access. This allows our telehealth psychiatric care to grow and meet the demands of many Americans.

Access to medical services is critical, especially for mobility-challenged patients, those unable to leave the house, those lacking dependable transportation, and those who live in remote areas. Many psychiatrists and therapists are able to lower their hourly fees to treat low-income patients without having to leave their homes.

RELATED: Is It Difficult for Telephone Triage Nurses to Adequately Assess Patients?

Having the option for at-home psychiatric care often removes the stigma of seeking professional health, and creates a safe and secure direct link to mental health workers. Weekly sessions can be done directly in one's home without the stresses of traffic or finding transportation to the appointment.

Providing healing to those in need is a field that must be flexible and adapt to changing shifts. Many professionals in mental health care can use the resources and tools available to almost everyone to help fight addiction, substance abuse, depression, mental illness, and more. As long as patients have access to the internet, they have access to treatment.

Amanda Bucceri Androus, RN, BSN
Latest posts by Amanda Bucceri Androus, RN, BSN (see all)
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