Find a Doctor Find a Doctor
Time to see a specialist?
Time to see a specialist?
We found [COUNT] Specialists
who treat [INTEREST]
near [LOCATION]
We found [COUNT] Specialists
who treat [INTEREST]
near [LOCATION]
[TELEHEALTH] offer Telehealth options.
More
Your Guide to Depression Treatment

This content is created by Healthgrades and brought to you by an advertising sponsor. More

This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the Healthgrades advertising policy.

What to Know About Telehealth for Depression

Medically Reviewed By Bethany Juby, PsyD

Managing depression often involves medication, talk therapy, or a combination of these two treatments. Thanks to technology, you may get your mental health care at home or in any other location.

gettyimages-1349926262-1024x683.jpg

Telehealth is a way to connect with mental health care professionals remotely through devices such as your computer, smartphone, and tablet. Also called telemedicine, this type of virtual care has become more popular in recent years. It’s also more likely to be covered by insurance than it was in the past. 

With telehealth, your psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or social worker can:

  • diagnose your depression and plan your treatment
  • give you therapy sessions one-on-one or in a group
  • prescribe medication and monitor your response to it

If you’ve never had a telehealth visit for depression, here are a few things to know so you can prepare.

Telehealth makes it easier to connect with a mental health professional

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth made up only 1% of all mental health visits. Now more than one-third of people get their mental health care and prescription medications this way. People use telehealth to manage many mental health conditions, including depression.

Some barriers may prevent people with depression from getting the mental health care they need, including a lack of time, transportation, or medical offices in their area. Telehealth removes those barriers by letting you access care from home. 

Telehealth can save you time and money. It prevents you from having to travel, find child care, or take time off from work. 

As a result, a 2023 research review Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source  suggests that people are more likely to keep teletherapy appointments than in-person ones. Some mental health professionals offer night and weekend teletherapy hours, which make these sessions even more convenient. 

You might feel more comfortable at home

It may be easier for you to talk about personal or sensitive subjects in the comfort of your home than in a medical office. Being relaxed and open with a mental health professional could lead to a more productive session.

Telehealth is about more than just video visits

A video call is one way that your mental health care professional might use telehealth to treat depression, but it’s not the only way. They can also connect with you over the phone or by text message, and they can track your progress between visits through a smartphone app or other digital tools. 

The quality of the care is the same

A 2021 poll by the American Psychiatric Association suggests that people’s perception of the quality of telehealth services for depression has improved since the start of the pandemic.

People seem to be satisfied with the mental health care they receive remotely. In a 2023 study Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source , about 90% of people in both the telehealth and in-person groups said they were very or extremely satisfied with treatment. More than 90% said they would recommend the program to a friend or family member. 

You prepare for visits in the same way

You can plan for your visit just as you would for an in-person appointment. You’ll have a limited amount of time to talk about everything you want to cover, so it helps to prepare a list of questions or topics you want to reference. Also consider bringing a list of all the medications you take.

Your mental health professional’s office will tell you what equipment you need for the visit. They will also send you a link to start your session. Make sure the audio and video on your device are working and that you have a reliable internet connection.

Test your technology before your appointment. If you have any problems setting up or getting connected, ask the office for advice.

Your privacy will be protected

Privacy can be a concern when you’re talking about depression. Consider finding a specific private space to take your telehealth session. All video calls and messages are sent over a secure patient portal and are not recorded.

Confirm insurance coverage

Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance companies expanded coverage for telehealth during the pandemic. Whether they still cover these services depends on your plan and where you live.

Some locations still require private insurance companies to reimburse for telehealth services at the same level as they would for in-person treatment. Others no longer require insurers to reimburse for these visits. Ask your insurance company to explain the costs to you before your first telehealth visit.

Takeaway  

Telehealth is a cost-effective and convenient way to get treatment for depression. If you’re interested in receiving mental health care virtually, ask your psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist whether they offer telehealth.

Was this helpful?
8
  1. For patients. (n.d.). https://telehealth.hhs.gov/patients
  2. Lo J, et al. (2022). Telehealth has played an outsized role meeting mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.kff.org/mental-health/issue-brief/telehealth-has-played-an-outsized-role-meeting-mental-health-needs-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/
  3. New nationwide poll shows an increased popularity for telehealth services. (2021). https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/news-releases/new-nationwide-poll-shows-an-increased-popularity
  4. Private insurance coverage for telehealth. (2023). https://telehealth.hhs.gov/providers/billing-and-reimbursement/private-insurance-coverage-for-telehealth
  5. Shaver J. (2022). The state of telehealth before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9035352/
  6. Sultana S, et al. (2023). Use of telehealth to address depression and anxiety in low-income US populations: A narrative review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10134158/
  7. What is telepsychiatry? (2023). https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/telepsychiatry
  8. Zimmerman M, et al. (2023). Telehealth treatment of patients with major depressive disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic: Comparative safety, patient satisfaction, and effectiveness to prepandemic in-person treatment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9742046/

Medical Reviewer: Bethany Juby, PsyD
Last Review Date: 2024 Feb 7
View All Your Guide to Depression Treatment Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.