Mental health at home: Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS (WSYR-TV) — Like many of us, Eli Nowak, a therapist in northern New Jersey, has had to adapt because of the pandemic.

Nowak said, “Since mid-March, I have shifted my practice to strictly via video or telephone.”

He has also seen an uptick in patients seeking help because of stresses caused by current events.

“It has been extremely challenging for most, if not all, of the people I have worked with,” Nowak said.

“Numerous studies have shown that teletherapy can be as effective as in-person care. And they can offer patients more scheduling flexibility, convenience, privacy, and a bigger pool of potential therapists,” said Rachel Rabkin Peachman, Consumer Reports Investigative Reporter.

If you’re interested in finding a therapist who will see you virtually, a good place

to begin is by asking for a referral from your primary care provider, family, or friends. A number of websites can be a good resource as well, like the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. If you have health insurance, you can also look on your insurer’s website for a list of therapists covered under your plan. There are also free options out there.

Peachman said, “You can call 211 or visit 211.org for a referral to a provider who offers support at no cost or on a sliding scale based on your budget. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and talk anonymously to a trained mental health professional for free.”

And to get the most out of a virtual session, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the therapist.

“When talking to a prospective therapist, ask about the person’s years in practice, specialties, therapy techniques, and fee,” Peachman said.

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