Virtual care resources to help support your mental health

If you’re struggling with your mental health but feel like you don’t have the time or availability to find help, you’re not alone. Accessing the right care may be challenging. For one, the growing need for mental health care continues to put a strain on the capacity for treatment. Studies show 4 in 10 U.S. adults who needed mental health treatment in the last 12 months did not get it.

In addition, issues of stigma continue to keep some from seeking the treatment they need.

Access to virtual behavioral health care resources, in the comfort of your own home, may help break down these barriers to care.

“For many, going to talk to a therapist in person may sound daunting. But, in many cases, you can connect to mental health care from anywhere that feels most comfortable,” said Dr. Donald Tavakoli, UnitedHealthcare national medical director for behavioral health. “Whether you’re looking for one-on-one counseling or resources to help you manage daily stress, virtual offerings continue to expand and can be an affordable option for those looking for support.”

Virtual care, also referred to as telehealth, has steadily gained popularity over the last few years and adoption has only accelerated — with standard physician offices, apps and insurance providers fast-tracking technological advancement to meet demand. Recent data shows telehealth accounted for 5.5% of U.S. medical claims in December 2022, and mental health conditions accounted for 62.5% of diagnoses — the top overall diagnosis.

Whether it’s video chatting with your primary care physician or supplementing mental health care through easily downloadable apps, virtual care may offer clear benefits as a convenient and affordable option.

Here are three quick tips to help evaluate what might work best for you:

1. Establish your preferences

Figure out what might work best for you in terms of care. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel that you would benefit from an evaluation by a licensed clinician to address whether you have a diagnosis of anxiety or depression?
  • Would you prefer in-person or virtual care?
  • Do you seek something self-directed, like an app, to help you with tools and educational information for your health?
  • Can the mental health professional prescribe medication, or do they collaborate with a psychiatrist or other qualified prescriber who will see you if deemed appropriate?

2. Speak with your primary care physician

Your primary care physician (PCP) can be a great resource, even if you plan to explore virtual mental health options. Your PCP can help guide any pre-established goals or be a helpful starting point if you’re not sure what you need. PCPs are often interconnected with virtual providers, giving you a holistic approach to your care.

3. Connect with your insurance provider

When speaking with a customer advocate, describe the care you’d like to receive and ask about available options. They can explain the services that are reimbursed and offer a list of virtual therapists that are covered in-network, helping you understand your affordable options. Some health insurers may have programs available at no additional cost, such as UnitedHealthcare’s Virtual Behavioral Coaching.

If you are struggling with your mental health, don’t wait to get care – resources are available and it may be easier to access than you think.

Learn more about mental health resources.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat for 24-hour, toll-free, confidential support and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. For TTY users, use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

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