Online therapy, which is also known as Web therapy, telepsychology, e-therapy, distance therapy, or internet therapy, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), maybe, as helpful as conventional therapy or meeting with a therapist in-person (face-to-face). Inasmuch as this type of care isn't for everyone and taking into consideration that the APA has cautioned that those with more serious mental health concerns, like schizophrenia, PTSD, and substance use disorder should seek more attention and care than remote treatment offers, online therapy is of immense benefit.
Causes of mental illness
Mental derangement according to the Cambridge English Dictionary, is a situation where someone is completely unable to think clearly or behave in a controlled way, especially because of mental illness. Any therapy that makes the condition of a mentally ill person not to progress to this level is, therefore, a welcome situation.
There are a lot of factors that are responsible for a person being mentally ill but we shall only look at these two:
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) research titled "Influence of Unemployment on Mental Health of the Working Age Population," reveals the different degree of impact the economic crisis has on mental health. The research is based on employment status and expectedly, it shows that unemployment is strongly related to the worsening of the mental health of the working-age population.
They discovered that unemployment has notable negative repercussions on the mental health of the working-age population. The unemployed working-age participants had strikingly poorer mental health compared to the employed participants.
The participants who were unemployed with previous work experience of more than 5 years had the highest mean mental health score for GHQ-28 (M=55.30), and consequently the highest impairment of mental health status.
According to the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH), underemployment in a situation where a person in paid employment works fewer hours than their desired full working capacity has been found to be linked with a significantly greater reduction in mental health especially among people suffering from physical disabilities. The truth to this finding is that once you are seen to be employed, your degree of responsibilities tends to increase.
Friends, family members, and society at large expect more from you financially. If you are not able to meet up with these expectations, you will be distressed and frustrated both of which are red flags for mental illness.
The London School of Economics and Political Science after conducting research on full-time workers and the underemployed arrived at the conclusion that the difference between the two of them is not only associated with their financial status, but it may also be generating mental health inequalities.
It's, therefore, not surprising that both unemployment and underemployment contribute greatly to the number of people suffering from mental illness. The fact also remains that if therapeutic measures are not extended to these people, the tendency is for their cases to degenerate to mental disorder.
Before the internet came on stream, everybody depended on conventional therapy. This situation, however, has changed and more people can now avail themselves of the services of professionals in the field.
While online therapy may not completely replace conventional therapy especially in areas where patients may need medication, it has helped a great deal in combating mental derangement. The following five ways are areas, online therapy has been of great usefulness.
1. An option for those living in remote areas
A lot of people who live in remote areas especially in developing countries find it very difficult to access the services of conventional therapeutic services. The reason may be due to a shortfall in the number of practitioners or reluctance on their part to relocate to these areas.
Online therapy, however, has made it possible for these people to be able to access mental health information. With online therapy, they can now have access to treatment that they might not have otherwise.
2. Accessibility for those with physical limitations
Among individuals with mental illness, there are unfortunately those who also have physical limitations and these people find it difficult to always meet up with their schedule from time to time which results in inadequate treatment. Online therapy is a good opportunity for them to easily access practitioners.
Mobility which can be a big issue when it comes to accessing mental health care is taken care of inasmuch as the internet is available.
3. Convenience and affordability
Online therapy can be relatively affordable and convenient. Given that you will be attending therapy sessions online in the comfort of your own home, you can often schedule your therapy sessions for times that are the most convenient for you.
In the U.S., many states have legislated that insurance providers should cover online therapy just as they would conventional therapy sessions. Online therapists, however, still offer affordable treatment options for individuals that are not covered by health insurance.
4. Better information accessibility
There is a lot of information you can access on the internet which ordinarily you may not be able to get from other sources. The reason is that while people may freely discuss other medical issues with friends and colleagues, it may not be easy for them to discuss mental health-related issues that way.
5. Educational tool
Online therapy is a good means and an important tool to help you learn more about mental illness even if you are not a patient. The knowledge you acquire about online therapy can help you become psychologically stronger.
You will be able to learn more about health behaviors and coping strategies that will lead to better psychological well being.
It's important to note, however, that some states in the U.S. may not allow out-of-state therapists to provide services. In such cases, your provider must be accredited in both their home state as well as your own before you can access their services.
Another major setback is that online therapists are ill-equipped to respond quickly and effectively when a crisis happens especially for cases that require their physical presence.