Statistics show that 55% of Australians are more likely to seek mental health support if they can access it via telehealth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected billions of people around the world and its impact has reached well beyond physical health. Many are facing increasing mental health issues as lockdowns and social distancing measures continue to disrupt social interactions and day-to-day activities.
But despite this, 48% of Australians who suffered from mental health challenges over the past 18 months did not seek professional help. Now, Aussies want their mental health practitioners to offer telehealth in addition to their standard face-to-face offerings and would contemplate switching practitioners to one that offers telehealth.
Coviu, conducted a survey exploring the attitudes of 1000 Australians across the country towards the use of telehealth for mental health appointments and the results were fascinating.
It was found that 52% of Aussies would switch mental health practitioners to one that offers telehealth and 55% would be more likely to seek mental health support if they could access it via telehealth. This sentiment is shared across age demographics, from millennials (64.8%) to Gen X (54%) and baby boomers (51%).
It is clear consumers want choice, easier access, and convenience - all of which can be offered with telehealth services, with 79% of respondents stating that telehealth makes mental health support more convenient, 67% said that it helps save time and 64% say it makes mental health support more accessible.
The survey also found that 35% of young Aussies (18-34) have missed or cancelled mental health appointments, with 51% cancelling due to time restraints, work or social commitments, and another 19% missing appointments because their mental health deteriorated. With telehealth, this can be avoided through increasing access and saving time by reducing the need to travel and removing waiting room time.
A significant portion (62%) of young Aussies (18-34) stated that they would be more likely to seek mental healthcare if telehealth was available, and 60% said they would switch mental health providers to one that offered telehealth.
Telehealth ensures mental health support is readily available and mental health appointments are not missed. Man of Many reported, "accepting some things that just can’t be done online, telehealth sessions via platforms like Coviu offer pretty much the same experience as being in the room with another person."
Prior to COVID-19, telehealth uptake was narrow and restricted to predominantly rural areas but the pandemic prompted a level of telehealth adoption that previously seemed unimaginable. To date Coviu has over 65,000+ users offering over 5 million + healthcare video consultations across the country.
As the government continues to build its post-pandemic telehealth strategy, they should take note that Australians want telehealth to be a permanent part of our healthcare system. Telehealth can remove numerous barriers for individuals trying to access healthcare, and for mental health practitioners to fully integrate telehealth into their business practices they need greater certainty that telehealth is going to be viable in the long term.
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