We have talked before about the barriers to mental health care that exist, in terms of finding the right fit, forging through stigma, and how to pay for it all. However, we currently live in a time where access to mental health care is better than it has ever been. That does not mean that we still do not have a long way to go, but the shift in our culture is noticeable, and having tools and resources to navigate the many choices that are out there can be helpful.
Legally, the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Coverage parity laws state that mental health treatment should have the same rules and benefits as medical treatment. This means that many insurance plans have mental health coverage, and the Affordable Care Act has eliminated some of the difficulties that come with having a pre-existing condition, such as depression or anxiety.
Access to mental health care increases in more populated and urban areas – the more people there are, the more providers there are. However, increasing regulations and platforms for telehealth counseling services are popping up more and more, with apps, websites, and providers offering video, text, and phone therapy services. Those that are homebound, or too far from a provider, may have the ability to receive mental health care from the comfort of their living room.
Finding the right fit is easier than ever, too. Seeking services from provider who has a specialization in what you need, experience, and a personality that meshes with yours can be quite difficult, and almost feel like a hunt for a needle in a haystack. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, and services like Therapy Hive, that search becomes a lot more efficient and easier. Many providers will offer initial brief consultations to help determine fit, and refer to more appropriate services if they are not the right provider for you.
That isn’t to say that stigma is not still present, or that all of the barriers to treatment are eliminated. While mental health parity laws sound great on paper, many providers find that working with insurance is too time consuming, expensive, and compromises your privacy, and therefore they may be out of network with your insurance company, leaving you to foot the bill and seek reimbursement.
Additionally, there is such a thing as choice overload. Typing just “therapy” into your browser search bar will likely generate thousands and thousands of choices, and this experience can be quite daunting when even mustering the courage to ask for help takes away many of your resources. This is why Therapy Hive was created, to increase the conversations around therapy and related services, to work collaboratively through these problems, and to help you on your search. Our provider search tool helps quickly narrow the search based on parameters such as location, insurances accepted, and types of treatment offered. We aren’t the only resource, but we want to be the best resource.
Continuing the conversation helps beat the stigma. Knowing that 1 in 4 adults seek therapy services means that you are far from being alone, and that doesn’t count those who seek services for their family members or children, or those who need help but can’t access it. Therapy is becoming more mainstream and accepted, and continuing to increase access to therapy can be literally lifesaving.