Telepsychiatry, also known as telehealth or telemental health, is the use of technology to deliver mental health services remotely. Providers use video conferencing, phone calls, or even text messages to facilitate virtual sessions with their clients.
Because of its convenience and flexibility, telepsychiatry is a great option for busy adults to receive mental health care. It’s especially helpful for people who live in rural communities, are home-bound, or prefer virtual instead of in-person appointments.
However, there are a few useful things to know before your first telepsychiatry appointment. Keep reading to learn how to best prepare so your session is productive.
Before Your Session
Prior to meeting with your provider via telepsychiatry, choose the location where you’ll conduct the session. Pick a quiet, comfortable spot with strong Wi-Fi, so you’ll be able to fully engage in the appointment without interruptions.
You’ll also want to gather any relevant information that might be helpful for your provider to know. This can include your medical history, current medications, and any other treatments you’re receiving. If you think of questions before your session, write them down and bring your notes to the appointment.
During Your Session
At your first appointment, your provider will spend some time getting to know you and your current situation. They’ll ask about your symptoms, how long you’ve been experiencing them, and how they’re impacting your life. Be as open and honest as possible with your answers. Full transparency gives your provider a clear picture of your situation and helps them determine a diagnosis, if applicable.
From there, your provider will discuss your treatment plan. This could include follow-up sessions, a medication prescription, or other types of treatment. They may also provide some resources for you to read after the session.
Feel free to ask any questions that you have about the treatment process or anything else that’s on your mind. Remember, this is your mental health care and it’s important that you feel comfortable and informed every step of the way.
After Your Session
You may think the “work” is done after meeting your therapist or psychiatrist for the first time, but this is only the beginning. Much of your progress toward better mental health takes place on your own time. Make sure to follow your treatment plan, and give yourself grace as you begin to heal. It can feel uncomfortable to work on your mental health, but this means growth is happening.