Anxiety affects nearly 30% of people at some point in their lives and often goes hand in hand with depression, which affects about 16 million American adults a year. To add insult to injury, studies show that four in 10 U.S. adults who needed mental health treatment in the last 12 months did not get it.
As these numbers continue to climb, accompanied by a flood of demand for mental health care, access to virtual behavioral health care resources may help to address unmet patient need.
Why are so many people with anxiety and depression going untreated?
The reasons are complex and numerous, but stigma, cost, convenience and access to affordable resources are among some of the factors impacting Americans’ ability to get help for their concerns or illnesses. Furthermore, people are often unsure as to whether their feelings require treatment or if it’s situational and something that can be managed through other means, such as changes in lifestyle.
Are the answers in the Cloud?
Virtual care, also referred to as telehealth, may be part of the solution. These resources have steadily gained popularity over the last few years and continue to accelerate — with technological advancement attempting to meet demand. According to the FAIR Health monthly telehealth tracker, telehealth accounted for 5.5% of medical claims in the U.S. in December 2022, and mental health conditions accounted for 62.5% of diagnoses — the top overall diagnosis.
Virtual resources range from video chatting with your primary care physician to texting with a bot for your prescriptions or supplementing mental health care through easily downloadable apps. Virtual care has clear benefits — it’s designed to be convenient, affordable and allows users to get care where and when needed.
Not every situation calls for telehealth and digital solutions are still being studied for how they may fit into overall care planning for individuals, but virtual behavioral health services may play a role in helping to alleviate the mental health crisis.
Consider these three quick tips for evaluating what works best for you: