Mental health is an epidemic, a global crisis affecting millions. It is a tragic truth that millions don’t have accessibility to good quality mental health care and therapeutic interventions. According to WHO, 56 million people in India suffer from depression and over 38 million suffer from an Anxiety disorder.
With less than one (0.3) psychiatrist and even lesser therapist (0.07) per 1,00,000 population, the traditional approach of in-person consultation is almost impossible, especially that the concentration of the mental health professionals is limited to urban locations in India.
The use of technology has democratised mental health care to an extent, providing easy access to effective, evidence-based therapy. Online therapy is one such method that is the next best alternative to in-person therapy. A 2018 meta-analysis study that included more than 1400 patients in therapy found that online therapy especially video-based therapy is as effective and credible as in-person therapy in treating Depression and Anxiety.
Let me share 9 reasons why online therapy is best suited for those suffering from Depression:
Social stigma is the biggest challenge of why people sidestep professional help. Online therapy potentially defies needless apprehension of negative social perception about mental health. Most online therapy platforms offer a secure and confidential experience to their users. For eg., the option to use ‘pseudonym or nickname’ to sign up for anonymous accounts on the platforms offers a sense of privacy. As you don’t have to visit or wait at the therapist’s office for your appointment makes online therapy highly compelling, eliminating the fear of being seen by others.
Online therapy platforms considerably expand the accessibility to a stock of trained, qualified, and experienced therapists. It facilitates the ease and flexibility of therapy appointments. It is more like having a therapist on demand.
Physical space has a significant impact on the quality of the user’s therapy experience. As one can attend the therapy session from anywhere, it offsets the subjective discomfort of being in an unfamiliar space. Anonymity and partial invisibility make self-disclosures easy, building a genuine therapeutic alliance between the user and the therapist; this is referred to as ‘benign online disinhibition effect.’ It enables the user to share negative emotions, intrusive thoughts, and suicidal ideation, which is common in Depression.
Depression demands consistency; a continued medical intervention, psychological treatment, or a combination of both are proven to be far more effective, particularly in preventing reoccurrences. Regular visits, high consultation charges, and social stigma often lead to treatment discontinuity; and as the therapy is delivered online, it addresses all these three critical problems.
CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) based online therapy is goal-oriented and solution-focused. Together the client and the therapist set goals for therapy, with the therapist playing an active and critical role. Those suffering from depression find it severely daunting to keep up with these goals. They require extra support on the day-to-day issues that take the centre stage. Both the client and therapist break the larger goal into manageable micro-goals, bite-sized tasks. Since it’s online, tracking the micro-goals become far easy and simple.
Tracking the mood in one concrete way is central to measuring progress in therapy. Lack of motivation, sadness, irritability, listlessness, etc are some common emotions one experiences with depression. Recording mood makes it simpler to monitor progress in therapy and the impact of medication. Analysing the mood logs, how and when mood shifts, could furthermore assist in uncovering dysfunctional cognitive – behavior patterns, which can then be addressed in therapy.
Depression impairs the cognitive ability of the person. Plagued with ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) depression lessens persons intuitive reasoning. Most express this phenomenon as brain fog. Working with a therapist can help you navigate through the decision-making process, additionally, online therapy platform also offer scientific tools that could further empower and assist you in the decision making.
Managing change is yet another common problem with Depression. To feel crippled with sadness daily, managing change can be acutely overwhelming. This inability to cope up with change can further intensify feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and helplessness. To have always-on access to an empathetic therapist can be incredibly supportive.
To conclude, Depression can be a serious disorder. Feelings of profound sadness, emptiness, hopelessness can be debilitating. Working with a therapist can be life-changing and empowering at the same time. Everyone deserves to feel better, seeking professional help online is the first step towards it.