4 Ways Mental Health Services Can Be Accessed Online
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In recent years, online mental health services, or teletherapy, have opened the door to more accessibility to mental health services. Its rise also comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a rising mental health crisis. This innovative approach can help you access treatment from the comfort of your own home, providing you with convenience and flexibility. 


Teletherapy offers health care services on digital platforms like video calls, email or messaging apps. These platforms are increasingly popular tools that are used to deliver mental health services. Therapists have seen a shift in their work through teletherapy from around 7% before COVID-19 to over 85% during and after the pandemic. With the exponential growth in popularity, you may be curious if online mental health services can provide you with an effective treatment alternative to traditional in-person therapy. Research argues that telehealth treatment can be as effective as traditional in-person psychotherapy. 


Primary ways online mental health services can be accessed


Online mental health services can be accessed through a number of options that can meet your preferences, needs and comfort level. These ways can include:


  • Video calls — The most common form of teletherapy is video calls. This live video session allows you to have real-time communication and interaction with your therapist and can be scheduled at your convenience. Using a secure online platform, you can have a face-to-face session with your therapist that is the most similar to in-person sessions. This approach can give you an improved sense of connection and trust with your therapist. This can lead to meaningful therapeutic work to happen. 


  • Messaging apps or email — If you are looking for a more casual approach to online mental health services, a text-based platform may better suit your needs. These platforms can offer messaging or emails asynchronously with your therapist. You can process your thoughts and emotions in writing, which can be beneficial if you are more introspective or reflective. Messaging or email gives you the most flexibility in scheduling by allowing you to engage with your therapist at times that are most convenient to you without disrupting your busy schedule. 


  • Live chat — Some online mental health services can use a live chat function. This lets you talk in real time with your therapist through a text-based conversation. Live chat combines immediate live communication with the convenience of asynchronous messaging. It can be a happy medium between live communication and traditional messaging. Live chat can be helpful if you like the quick responses of real-time interaction but prefer written communication. 


  • Group therapy — Teletherapy can be used for individual sessions or it can also be used for group therapy. Group teletherapy can connect you with others who are facing similar challenges. This allows you to have the benefit of peer support, shared experiences and perspectives and can help you develop coping strategies collaboratively. 


Mental health conditions that can benefit from online mental health services


Teletherapy is one of many treatment options that can effectively help manage and treat a wide variety of mental health conditions, including:


  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Complicated grief


Levels of care that can be offered through online mental health services 


There are different levels of care for mental health services. Two levels of care can be used in virtual settings to provide accessible and comprehensive tailored support:


  • Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP) — A Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program can offer structured treatment from the comfort and privacy of your own home. It allows you to have a flexible treatment program that can meet your unique needs and schedule. If you are transitioning from a higher level of care, a vIOP can give you a careful balance of support and independence. If you are new to therapy, it gives you a safe and welcoming environment while receiving treatment. Treatment can include around three hours of group therapy starting at five days a week plus an individual online therapy session. This program is often used as a bridge to outpatient treatment. 


  • Virtual outpatient psychotherapy — Virtual outpatient psychotherapy provides you with ongoing support for your mental health issues. Your therapist can customize your treatment plan to your needs, and sessions will be done over telecommunication platforms. It opens the door to mental health help without the barriers of transportation or scheduling issues. It can help you to continue to heal and grow on your mental health journey. 


Lightfully offers a Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program to meet your unique needs and schedule


At Lightfully Behavioral Health, our Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program can be a valuable resource for individuals experiencing mild symptoms at various stages of their mental health journey. Some clients may seek virtual programming for early intervention or relapse prevention support, while others utilize vIOP as a step-down method when they transition from a higher level of care. It can also be great for those who are new to therapy or have conditions that keep them from leaving home to seek traditional in-person therapy. 


During a vIOP, our licensed clinical therapists can treat a variety of conditions through a focused approach with process-based therapy (PBT). PBT allows us to provide you with whole-person-centered care by using key components of evidence-based approaches. 


Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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