By Susan K. Gurley, ADAA Executive Director
With more than 18 million annual website visitors seeking information and resources on anxiety, depression, and related disorders, ADAA’s website has become a critical platform for help and support. Many visit our site to search our Find A Therapist database (unique in that it only lists therapists who have expertise in anxiety, depression and related disorders) for individual clinicians and practices in their geographic area.
However, many of our website visitors live in areas of the county where finding either mental health resources or a therapist with expertise in anxiety, depression and related disorders is difficult, if not impossible. In several states, people may have to drive two hours+ to visit a therapist and even more to visit a therapist with expertise in a particular disorder. This lack of access is more than just an inconvenience as many states with overall poorer access to adult mental health care have also shown comparatively higher rates of other related negative outcomes, such as poverty, violent crime, opiate use, high school dropout rates, unemployment, homelessness, and even child abuse.
Telemental health addresses this issue through the use of technology. Over the last few decades, telemental health, or as it is now more widely known, telebehavioral health or tele-therapy has become increasingly popular. Telemental health refers to the utilization of remote communications to provide counseling and other mental health services. By removing barriers of time, distance, and provider scarcities, telemental health services can deliver the care where it is needed most; in remote, rural areas and underserved urban communities. Telemental health has also become an option for those who may have long commutes, work long hours, or suffer from anxieties or physical ailments that keep them house bound. This practice has successfully helped increase mental healthcare access for many with some studies finding telemental health to be comparable to in-person care in terms of effectiveness.
ADAA is proud to be a part of this new service delivery option by offering a listing, in our Find a Therapist database, of members who provide their services remotely. Consumers who visit our site can search for telemental health providers in their area by simply typing in their zip code.