The recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak is currently changing the world as we know it. For many of us, we feel shaken and rattled as the foundations and routines that we have always known are thrown off. We have so many questions about what is happening around us and what information we should believe. This leads to fear and insecurity as things are no longer safe like they used to be. We have concerns that we have never had before.
We are living in the unknown with numerous fears. We are worried about our loved ones, especially elderly parents and grandparents. We question what will happen if a child comes down with appendicitis and there is no room in the hospital for him due to the Coronavirus patients. We feel trapped and isolated as we are in our homes waiting to hear the latest bad news on social media. We wonder what is and is not ok. How far do we “social distance” ourselves? Is it okay for my children to play with the neighbors outside? What about taking kids to the local playground, is that alright? Is it okay to go to Walmart and when is the safest time to go? Is going through the drive through to pick up food a safe option? We have never had to think twice about these things before now. Today’s world is suddenly in a completely different place than the carefree days of three months ago.
Because of the recommended social distancing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the virtual world is exploding. Children and college students are now learning virtually, business employees are working remotely, meetings are being held in virtual chat rooms, and in some cases, doctor’s appointments are even being done online. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, limiting in-person interactions is best practice. The counseling world is also diving into this virtual world in order to comply with these best practice measures and help to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. This means that clients can continue to see their therapists during these difficult times through virtual counseling sessions, also known as telehealth. Telehealth sessions work just like in-person counseling sessions. A client and therapist will enter a virtual chat at the same time and talk back and forth through their laptop, i pad, or phone. This works much like a FaceTime call. The client and therapist will be able to see each other and interact face-to-face, even though they are not in the same room.
These virtual sessions will prove to be a huge asset to those with mental health issues as we all work through these changing and uncertain times. Children are home from school, parents are working from home, no one can find toilet paper, and the grocery store shelves are empty. These circumstances are causing many people to have anxiety, and they are causing those with anxiety disorders to have anxiety levels that are through the roof. For those with depression, the social distancing can be very tough and lonely. Telehealth will be a huge asset to these individuals with anxiety and depression as they will be able to continue meeting with their therapist and talk through the emotions they are experiencing.
Other than preventing the spread of germs and viruses, telehealth offers many other advantages. When the outbreak subsides, those who travel for work or pleasure can continue therapy sessions with their therapists while they are traveling. College students who return home over the summer or winter break, can continue seeing their therapist through telehealth. Having consistent counseling sessions while traveling for business or play, can really help to keep individuals grounded as their circumstances change. Telehealth also offers clients the option of having therapy sessions in the comfort of their own home. Some may view telehealth as weird or uncomfortable at first, but after a few sessions, it will feel completely normal. Additionally, we have found that when clients are in a comfortable and familiar environment, they find that it is actually easier to open up to their therapist. Another advantage to telehealth is that individuals who live in remote or rural areas can have access to top notch mental health services through the virtual counseling session option.
The therapists at Water’s Edge Counseling are all conducting telehealth sessions during the Coronavirus outbreak. If you find yourself experiencing anxiety or depression during these difficult times, we would love to help you without exposing you to another public setting. Please call our office at 912-319-5552 if you are interested in scheduling or if you have questions about how virtual counseling sessions work. We are committed to help you navigate through these difficult times and come out stronger on the other side.