Did you know apps offer access to virtual mental health clinics?

3 min read

doctor with a cell phone in his hand doing teleconsultation

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

  • Accessibility
    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.

  • Flexibility
    These apps often offer flexible hours that can accommodate your schedule.

  • Privacy
    You can communicate with your therapist privately and safely, without having to worry about stigma or judgment.

  • Support tools
    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:

  1. Teleconsultations
    Patients can meet with their therapist remotely via video conferencing or phone calls for real-time therapy sessions.

  2. Symptom tracking
    Patients can use symptom tracking tools to monitor their mental state and track their progress over time.

  3. Online Prescription
    Patients may receive prescriptions for psychiatric medications online.

  4. Real-time support
    Patients can communicate with a therapist in real time, via chat or instant messaging, for help and support when needed.

  5. 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.

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HALEO – Sleep Clinic
HALEO Preventive Health Solutions Inc.
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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.

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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.

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7-Cups is an app offering therapy and counseling chat-based counseling with trained volunteers or licensed therapists.

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In-app purchases

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.

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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

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