By Holli Stayton, psychiatric nurse practitioner for AtHome, the direct-to-consumer division of Array Behavioral Care
A 13-year-old girl diagnosed with depression is responding well to anti-depressant medication prescribed three months ago. She’s involved in numerous extra-curricular after-school activities, and her parents both work full time. A busy family schedule makes it challenging to book regular check-in appointments with her doctor during traditional office hours.
Concerned that inconsistent appointments will negatively impact their daughter’s progress, her parents opt to try direct-to-consumer (D2C) telepsychiatry—online therapy delivered through videoconferencing technology. The girl can now meet with a licensed child and adolescent provider on her family computer directly from the comfort of her own home following school and her extra-curricular activities—all before her nightly family dinner.
Meet the new face of behavioral health care that is fast becoming a viable—and often preferred—option for today’s children and teens. Conducted remotely through any computer, tablet or smartphone, D2C models offer an alternative for more convenient care amid current behavioral health challenges.
The demand for child and adolescent behavioral health care is soaring, and specialty provider shortages have reached severe levels throughout the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A simple math equation paints a grim and telling picture: In California, there are only 1,135 child and adolescent behavioral health providers to serve more than nine million children and teens—7 percent of who struggle with a behavioral health disorder severe enough to impact daily life.
Couple those stats with busy family schedules, and the access to care challenge for the nation’s children appears bleak. The good news is that telepsychiatry is proving to be an effective choice embraced by today’s youth and in some cases, a better option.
Here are five reasons why families are increasingly turning to telepsychiatry.
A new door is opening for child and adolescent behavioral health care, and the benefits are unlimited. With options like telepsychiatry becoming more widely available, families are no longer bound by the limitations of traditional health care and can take greater control of their children’s behavioral health needs—without the hassle. For today’s parents, telepsychiatry offers a positive step towards more consumer-friendly options to improve children and adolescent health.
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