5 Reasons Why Online Counselling For Depression Works
Updated January 24, 2019
Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
According to the American Counseling Association, over 40 million Americans suffer from mental illness and 11 million reported a debilitating condition that interfered with their happiness, career and major life activities. What's concerning is that less than four out of five people will seek mental health services-though as many as 25 percent will try to cope with drugs or alcohol, and almost four percent will seriously contemplate suicide. These are startling statistics for a serious condition that can be treated through traditional therapy or online counseling.
Why people avoid seeking treatment
There are many reasons why people fail to get help when they are experiencing problems with their mental health. Some of the reasons include:
- Don't realize there is a problem - While this seems like an unlikely excuse, it's actually a serious reason why people don't seek treatment. Some people don't realize that they are experiencing something different than other people. They may think it's normal to feel so down. Sometimes without the label of "depression" people don't feel that their symptoms warrant them drawing attention to themselves and getting help.
- They are embarrassed - The stigma that surrounds mental health stops a lot of people from getting the help that they need. They don't want others to see them as "weak" or "crazy" or any other number of names. The stigma causes these people to feel ashamed of their struggle so instead of reaching out for help they hide the problem.
- They can't afford it - The health care industry is somewhat of a mess. There are people that don't have health insurance that includes mental health appointments with a therapist. There are other people that don't have any insurance. When this is the case some people can't afford to pay for help out of their own pocket.
Online Counseling for Depression
The good news is there is an emerging option for mental health treatment that can help those that aren't currently getting help to get the help that they need. Online counseling through websites like BetterHelp, allow you to get help from a licensed therapist through alternative options.
Here are some of the benefits of online counseling for depression:
- It's a realistic alternative to a largely rural population.
We often take for granted how easy it is to travel from home to an office in the city. However, there are many people in small towns and rural territories that might be an hour away from a city clinic. This makes it very difficult to seek help. Even if they have a small local office, their options may be limited, unaffordable or have too long of a waiting list.
- It's an ideal option for the physically disabled.
It's no coincidence that many people who suffer from depression also have physical limitations regarding mobility. If they are unable to drive or have a more difficult time doing so then taking the time to get to an appointment can be complicated or even impossible.
Even if a person is not disabled if they suffer from things like chronic pain it can be hard to get to an office when they aren't feeling well. Online therapy can be conducted from the comfort of their own home when they can be in their most comfortable positions. Online therapy is an alternative that goes beyond physical limitations.
- It's a convenient option that favors shy, awkward or depressed people who don't feel comfortable talking to a therapist in person
Many individuals who suffer from depression also have problems with anxiety. Sometimes these negative feelings are made worse by the obligation to face a stranger and confess their weaknesses, negative thoughts and feelings of despair. Anonymous counseling provides some distance, some feeling of control for the person, that he/she might not get in person with an authority figure.
Many young people grew up texting and chatting online and may be more comfortable using technology than speaking about delicate matters in person. Read this related article.
- It offers greater control over scheduling, or even at odd hours of the day or night.
Online counseling for depression may allow you to choose your own session times, or in some cases, to log in whenever you feel panic or have depressive or suicidal feelings. The adaptable schedule that can match your lifestyle may feel like a lifesaver at times.
If you have a tight schedule your only chance to go to counseling might be early in the morning before work, during your lunch break, or after the kids are in bed for the night. However, early hours and late hours are most likely not available in person. And, if your work location isn't right by your therapist's office it might be impossible to get in an appointment over your lunch break.
- There's a lack of social stigma attached to a mostly anonymous and affordable service.
Not only can it be incredibly helpful to talk to someone that you don't know personally, but it can make the whole thing easier. Online counseling can be a completely anonymous service, with discreet billing and affordable services. Many who are depressed will not want to risk their reputation by publicly being seen talking to a doctor or therapist.
Worrying about the stigma associated with mental health can stop people from reaching out for the help that they need. With online counseling, only you and the therapist have to know about these private matters.
Online counseling and affordability
One more thing worth mentioning is that online counseling is often more affordable than seeing a therapist in person. Since many people avoid getting help because they can't afford the price of seeing someone in private practice then online counseling can be just the thing that they need.
Depression is a very treatable mental health condition. No one should have to suffer in silence at home because they either don't want to or can't make an in-person therapy session. When depression is left untreated it can lead to a spiral down into further depression along with self-harm and thoughts of suicide. This can all be avoided by finding the right treatment plan.
Ultimately, online sessions work because online counseling is more accessible especially now that we are living in a web-driven world. People who might never consider in-person therapy might consider an online chat service that is willing to meet their schedule and lifestyle. If you think you could benefit from some no-obligation-chat, why not give it a try and see for yourself how easy getting help can be?