According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, approximately one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in any given year. Virtual mental health clinic apps may help address this epidemic by allowing patients to more easily access mental health support.
These apps are designed to provide mental health services remotely using technologies such as cell phones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers. They often combine educational materials and self-guided activities with paid consultations involving human coaches or therapists. Importantly, the cost of virtual consultations with therapists may be covered by your private health plan. Ask your insurer if you are eligible for reimbursement.
There are many benefits to accessing mental health services from a virtual clinic through a mobile app
You can conveniently access these services from the comfort of your own home, which can be especially helpful if you have difficulty traveling or if you live in a remote area where access to mental health professionals is limited.
These apps often offer flexible hours that can accommodate your schedule.
You can communicate with your therapist privately and safely, without having to worry about stigma or judgment.
Some of these apps also offer support tools, such as guided meditations, breathing exercises and mindfulness activities. These tool are good complements to human-led coaching or therapy.
Some of the common features of virtual mental health clinic apps include:
Patients can meet with their therapist remotely via video conferencing or phone calls for real-time therapy sessions.
Patients can use symptom tracking tools to monitor their mental state and track their progress over time.
Patients may receive prescriptions for psychiatric medications online.
Patients can communicate with a therapist in real time, via chat or instant messaging, for help and support when needed.
Online therapy programs
Patients can access online therapy programs, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to treat specific disorders such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Here are some examples of apps that provide access to care in a virtual clinic
HALEO is a Canadian app for insomnia featuring multiple support activities and live consultations with sleep specialists. Activities on certain themes are added after each consultation to accompany the patient towards a more peaceful sleep.
BetterHelp is an online therapy service that connects you with a licensed therapist. The app also has a mood tracking feature to help users keep track of their moods and identify patterns. The app also offers educational content on a variety of topics related to mental health.
Talkspace is an online therapy application that allows users to chat with licensed therapists via text, audio or video message. You can receive psychotherapy for most common mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance use, stress, relationships or PTSD
Ginger is a mental health app that offers virtual therapy sessions with licensed therapists through video or messaging.
7-Cups is an app offering therapy and counseling chat-based counseling with trained volunteers or licensed therapists.
Cerebral is a mental health app that offers virtual consultations with licensed therapists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners. You can receive any prescribed medications within just a few days and have regular check-ins with your mental health provider and counselor.
Easily connect with a therapist through your phone
In summary, virtual mental health clinic apps can help you gain easy access to qualified mental health professionals with flexible scheduling, confidentiality and support in managing your mental health. For these reasons, many patients find them very convenient.
It is important to note that some patients may not find benefits in this modality and prefer in-person consultations. What’s more, severe mental health issues should be followed closely by a trained therapist, which may be more challenging with remote consultations. Although these apps are not for everyone, a large proportion of patients may find them just as effective as in-person visits.
Virtual consultations are a new entry in the mental health therapeutic toolkit that allows even greater level of personalization of care based on patient situation and preferences. With these apps, connecting with a therapist has never been easier.
Your health care professional can help you choose
Feeling confident is important. Get all the essential information about health apps by talking to your healthcare professional.
AppGuide provides reliable information about mobile health apps that allows patients and healthcare professionals to make informed, shared decisions about using a health app to track health status or act on your priority health goals.