There have been some companies doing therapy online, by Skype or Facetime, and there have been therapists doing it by phone for a while now. We’ve also had some applications developed to try and help with mental health.
That is all in response to the lack of mental health professionals in many locations.There are a lot of places in the US, and across the world where there is no office where you can go see a mental health professional.
The one thing we have lacked, however, as these new tools have shown up, is a lot of research into whether they work or not, or best practices to make sure that they do work.
With this new pandemic severely limiting all of our abilities to get to an office, even if one is nearby, we are about to find out. Much like many of us are now getting a crash course in how to make work from home work, therapists and their patients are about to get a crash course in making remote treatment work.
I’m hopeful that they can make it work, first and foremost for the people who are suddenly unable to get to their therapy appointments, but also because making this widely available may just help us with all of those mental healthcare deserts that we have around the country.