Mental Telehealth (which is online therapy) wasn’t new when the Covid pandemic struck, but it also wasn’t the first choice for people who had mental healthcare providers (therapists and counselors) near them whom they could see in person. Mental Telehealth has been on the rise in rural areas, however; and now online therapy is a great way for anyone to get help without leaving home. If you’ve experienced mental health issues during the last eighteen months, or longer, you’re not alone. Now, if you have anxiety about seeing someone in person, you don’t have to suffer in silence.
When COVID-19 struck, the mental health field had to work fast to offer accessible counseling and therapy. One of the ways the healthcare industry responded is Telehealth therapy sessions which have proliferated as the demand for mental health services rose due to the effects of the pandemic on people’s lives. The first time attending a mental Telehealth consultation can be intimidating, and you may be worried about privacy or distractions. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for that first consult.
What is your family tree of mental health and your own mental history
Here’s something important to think about. Who has has mental illness or substance or alcohol use disorder in your family? How has it affected you? What about your own mental health history? Gather all the information or medical documents ahead of your session. If you don’t have dates and times of your illnesses (if you had them), you can seek the information you need from your primary care doctor. Having all the information and details aids in your diagnosis and recommendations for treatment.
Most Telehealth companies offer a wide range of mental health services like these provided by MSV group offers. When booking a session, you’re required to complete a form and fill in your medical history and the symptoms you’re currently experiencing. This is the way you can be placed in the right treatment category and matched with with the mental health professional, or doctor, who’s right for you and your problems.
List the questions you want to ask
Any doctor’s appointment can make you nervous, especially during the first consultation session. That can make you forget to ask important questions during the virtual session. Write down anything that comes to your mind that you think you should ask. Also, write down all the symptoms you experience, even those that aren’t consistent. It may be something the doctor would want to hear.
Know how to work with technology
Telehealth consultations can take place in two ways; video conferencing or via phone call. After you’ve set up your virtual session, ensure that you have a good connection and fully charge your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Some facilities might send you a link that directly connects you to the doctor’s session. Others might require you to log into the patient portal where you can connect with your doctor.
Either way, you need to know these things before the appointment day so that the doctor’s office can help you through any issues you may be having. The staff can also guide you through the process so that the consultation has no hitches. This eliminates any anxiety you may have when dealing with technical issues.
Find a quiet and private place to talk
You want to find a place where you have enough privacy to share and listen to your doctor. Finding privacy and a quiet place prove to be challenging, especially if you live with a lot of people in the house or you have small children. Before your appointment, be sure to set apart a private and quiet place where you can talk.
Also, be sure to tell your family, or other people around that you’ll need privacy and silence during the session. If you have children who might distract you, arrange for someone to look after them. That way, you can give your appointment your full attention and be free of interruptions.
What you need for the first session
Treat the session like any other doctor’s appointment. Here’s what else you need to have at the session:
- Your medical history
- A list of all your medicines, if any, including supplements and over-the-counter medications.
- The telephone number and address of your pharmacy
- The name and contact information of your primary doctor
- Your credit card and insurance information
Try to speak and express yourself clearly, make eye contact, and always tell the truth about what’s going on. If you’re recovering from drugs abuse, have relapsed, or have any other mental issue or illness, don’t be afraid to say it. You want the doctor to help you the best they can, and being open will help with that.
Write down your counselor’s recommendations for treatment and homework
No matter how simple the recommendation and treatment plan may sound, write it down to be sure. However, the recommendation may also be to see the doctor in person or another specialist. You may also be required to fill a prescription. It’s essential to write this first-hand information down.
Telehealth has existed for a while, but its popularity has risen dramatically since COVID-19. Consulting on mental health issues virtually is the same as the in-person consultation, and you should treat it as one to get the most out of the sessions. Having all your medical documents ready, prescriptions, and other information ready is the best way to prepare for the session. Ensure to also familiarize yourself with the applications or video conferencing software the doctor uses. Find a quiet place, ensure there are no disruptions.