We have long known that mental health is an issue in our great country that needs more aggressive intervention. There are still far too many people in the U.S. who feel mental health is something we don’t talk about in polite society. Along with that attitude, we have seen a staggering rise in statistics from depression to suicide. It is time to change the way polite society talks.
One app, Talkspace, is making mental health care more accessible by offering therapy through your smart phone. Available to New York residents since its inception in 2012, Talkspace has recently signed a deal with Magellan Health to enable their clients to access on-demand psychotherapy through its own assistance program. This will offer mental healthcare through employer’s benefits if Magellan Health is the healthcare management provider.
Currently Talkspace claims to have approximately 500,000 users utilizing over 1,000 providers. Rather than going to an office for an appointment, users can simply reach into their pocket for help. Platforms for therapy include Skype-type video and phone calls through to a more instantaneous text-based chat format.
The biggest pro is accessibility of mental health care to more people. There are those with time constraints, location, or poor physical health conditions who do not seek mental healthcare; and those who will not seek therapy due to social pressures. By using Talkspace, each of these people will have that option. Another pro is the difference in cost. Talkspace is substantially less expensive.
The biggest con is how easy it is to fall away from the program. It is very easy to just delete notifications without even reading them. Also, the therapist doesn’t have the same visual acuity (or none if chatting) to pick up on cues they might catch when face-to-face.