Bringing Behavioral Health Home

One of the biggest risks to your behavioral health is putting off treatment that could not only get you feeling better sooner, but also save your relationships, your career, and ultimately, your life. There are a lot of reasons we put off taking care of ourselves. Some things are out of our control (for example, needing to see a specialist in a city that is two hours away), and others are the result of the very thing we’re trying to get help with (such as not wanting to talk about difficult, personal topics).

Regardless, these barriers all too often prevent us from getting the help that we need. But, what if you didn’t have to drive to your behavioral health appointment, or take time off work or away from your family? What if it were possible to work with a world-renowned specialist without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home? Home-based telemental health is one way that technology is making behavioral health more practical, convenient, and accessible to a greater number of people.

Have you ever used Skype or FaceTime to have a conversation with someone who isn’t in the same city or even the same state as you? Telemental health uses much of the same technology to connect you, in real time, to skilled behavioral health providers. In fact, research into home-based telemental health suggests that treatments are just as safe and effective when provided over video conference as they are when provided in person, while saving both time and money by avoiding things like travel to and from a clinic or hospital.

That said, it’s important that we continue to test out whether very specific treatment options can be provided via telehealth without any loss of fidelity. Researchers at T2  are currently in the process of doing just that. Our In-Home Depression Treatment Study and In-Home PTSD  Treatment Study  are currently looking for Army volunteers in and around the Joint Base Lewis-McChord area who may be feeling down, sad, depressed, anxious, fearful, or angry to participate in no-cost treatment for depression and/or PTSD. Some volunteers will receive treatment in person, while others will receive treatment in their home via a laptop and webcam provided by the study; however, everyone enrolled will receive eight weeks of treatment. For more information about these studies, and how to get involved, call 253**341**8876 or e-mail inhome(at)t2health.org. You can also get more information on our In-Home TeleHealth Depression Study page.

Larry Pruitt, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and a supervisor for the In-Home Telehealth Research Program at theNational Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2).  Dr. Pruitt’s focus spans from novel treatments for anxiety and depression, to the ways that a patient’s preferences and beliefs about psychotherapy impact their responses to treatment.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Center for Telehealth & Technology, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

 

Read other posts by Dr. Larry Pruitt