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Every year on October 10th, people from around the world come together with the same goals in mind: de-stigmatizing mental health issues and raising awareness of treatment options. And since it was first launched in 1992, supporters of World Mental Health Day have helped make great strides toward achieving those objectives.
While there is still much work to be done, those suffering from mental health problems have more options than ever before. And along with the tireless efforts of advocates and mental health professionals, technological advancements have also played a large role in combating mental illness.
From diagnosing mental health issues, to finding local treatment options and support groups, the internet allows us to deal with mental health in a way that previous generations would never have thought possible. And thanks to advances in smartphone technology, new methods such as online therapy are becoming more and more common.
According to the American Psychological Association, some studies indicate that “telemental health” and “asynchronous messaging therapy” can, in some cases, “be as effective as in-person therapy.” Other studies have shown that online therapy often proves useful as a first step for those who are reluctant to get help, and can lead to patients to seeking out more intensive treatment methods.
Of course, there are many factors at play when it comes to your health, and it’s important to do your own research. It’s always a good idea to consult with a physician to see what treatment options are right for you. And if you or someone you care about needs help immediately, please click here for recourses. But with all that in mind, for those who are interested in exploring the world of online therapy, these five websites are a great place to start on your journey toward optimal mental health.
iCounseling.com bills itself as “the future of counseling.” And given that its counselors are available via phone, chat, text, and video conferencing, that claim seems pretty spot-on.
Within 24 hours of signing up for the service and completing a brief survey, you are matched with a counselor. At that point, you are free to contact them at any time, so there’s no need to set up an appointment. This unlimited access means you are free to share your concerns as they occur, rather than days or even weeks afterward.
LGBTQ individuals are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. That’s why Pride Counseling focuses on treating this often underserved community.
Pride Counseling’s licensed and credentialed therapists specialize in LGBTQ issues and provide discrete, affordable, and convenient care. Pride Counseling offers chat, text messaging, phone, and video-conference options, and affordable prices which are usually comparable with insurance plan co-pays.
Another option for online therapy is MyTherapist.com, which makes professional counseling available anytime, anywhere, through a computer, tablet or smartphone. Whether you're looking to improve your quality of life, need help with achieving goals, or just want to work on a specific issue such as stress, depression, etc., MyTherapist.com can help.
You can send messages to your counselor any time that’s convenient for you, and receive feedback as it’s available. Or you can schedule a specific time to “meet” with your counselor via phone, video conferencing, or chat. Best of all, every counselor has obtained a Masters Degree or higher in their relevant fields, and has at least three years and 2,000 hours of experience.
Last but not least is Regain.us, an online therapy platform that caters specifically to individuals and couples who are having issues with their relationships. Like the other sites we’ve mentioned, Regain.us makes counseling available anytime, anywhere. However, the site has a specific focus of improving the quality of relationships by helping couples overcome issues that interfere with happiness and, or relationship goals.
Unlike the other sites we’ve discussed, Regain allows two users to share a joint account, and all written communication is visible to both users and the counselor. However, it is possible to speak with a counselor privately via an individual live session.
As we mentioned above, there are many factors at play when it comes to an individual's mental health needs, and no one claims that telemental therapy is a cure all. But if you’re interested in optimizing your mental health, and you’re not ready or able to attend therapy in a face-to-face setting, online therapy may be an option that is worth exploring.
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