Mental health wasn’t always something people were willing to talk about openly. However, a lot of progress has been made over the last few decades. In 1992 the World Federation for Mental Health launched World Healthcare Day, and ever since then activists and healthcare professionals have worked tirelessly to educate the public and destigmatize mental illness. As a result of all this advocacy, today there are more mental health resources than ever before. And that includes a growing number of online counseling and therapy services.
Of course, “telemental health” or “telepsychology” has been around for at least 25 years, but generally only in the context of a traditional therapist-patient relationship. Now, however, the ubiquity of smartphones has created incredible new opportunities for app-based companies to offer more accessible, flexible, and affordable therapy.
Online counseling and therapy services cannot always replace traditional face-to-face counseling. Individuals experiencing an urgent crisis or who have mental health issues that require medication should seek help in person from a mental health expert. However, there are a lot of issues for which online counseling and therapy are perfectly suited. According to the American Psychological Association, studies have shown that online therapy and counseling can be just as effective as face-to-face counseling for a variety of mental health issues. Moreover, even in cases where more intensive face-to-face therapy is required, online counseling or therapy can be a good first step. By making everything so easy, they remove the barriers that keep people from seeking help.
If you think you or someone you know could benefit from online counseling, but you’re not quite sure where to start, below are three different services that specialize in specific kinds of therapy.
Regain is a relationship counseling service that caters to both couples or individuals. It gives you access to unlimited messaging, chatting, calling, and video conferencing with a licensed and experienced counselor or therapist. Also, Regain allows two users to share one account. All written communication in the messaging service can be seen by everyone. However, each individual can also communicate privately with their therapist or counselor via chat, phone, or video, and couples can also schedule joint phone or video sessions.
People in the LGBTQ community are three times more likely to suffer from mental health issues than the general population, and more often than not these issues are directly linked to their sexual or gender identity. Luckily, all of the mental health professionals at Pride Counseling specialize in the specific needs of the LGBTQ community. Whether you are battling mental health issues like anxiety or depression, or you’re struggling with your identity, or you just need some support and acceptance, you can get it 24/7 from Pride Counseling.
TeenCounseling is geared entirely toward teens. All of their licensed counselors and therapists specialize in helping young people ages 13 to 20 deal with issues like self-esteem, bullying, anxiety, stress, coping skills, depression, anger, eating disorders, and more. While a parent or guardian will have to sign up and pay for this service, all of the teen’s communication with his or her counselor or therapist, whether via message, chat, phone, or video, are 100 percent confidential.
No one’s mental health needs are exactly the same. What’s right for one person might be completely wrong for the next. There is no magic pill. However, if you’ve been struggling with your mental health for a while, but have been putting off getting help, an online counseling service like the ones listed above could be a great first step. Maybe it’s time to take it.