Telehealth took off during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a new study shows even people with serious mental health conditions can benefit from online appointments.
The findings are good news for rural folks who live miles away from psychiatrists and psychologists.
“This study showed that patients with multiple psychiatric conditions and who also struggle with several chronic physical health problems can engage well in mental health treatment with their primary care doctors or remote mental health specialists,” said study co-author Dr. Jennifer Severe, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.
But it also showed that patients with drug problems and manic symptoms from bipolar disorder may need additional support to get started on psychotherapy or to stay with it, the researchers said.
The study was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, to see if people living far away from mental health care providers could benefit from telehealth services. The work was timely, given that many health care visits have moved online because of the pandemic.