She talks about the opportunities to meet the needs of patients who don't have easy access to mental health services and what must be done to expand telehealth.
Mimi Winsberg says she’s seeing encouraging results in providing mental health services via telehealth.
Winsberg is the chief medical officer and co-founder of Brightside Health, a telehealth company focusing on mental health.
“Our goal is to deliver life-changing mental healthcare to individuals who have everything from mild to severe clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. We are even treating patients who have elevated suicidal risk,” Winsberg says.
Brightside Health is aiming to offer more options to patients as many areas face a shortage of mental health professionals.
“More than half the counties in the United States don't have a single psychiatrist, so we have an access problem,” Winsberg says. “And we have a problem of suicidal patients not being often able to get the appropriate care.”
Some studies have shown telehealth has been successful in treating patients with substance use disorder. Researchers are also finding a high level of accuracy in telehealth diagnoses in psychiatry and other areas.
“What we're seeing is that telehealth can actually provide some benefits,” Winsberg says. “Yes, you can't do a physical exam over telehealth. But in behavioral health conditions, that's often not necessary. Most of the time it’s not necessary. What you can do with a telehealth platform is incorporate other features that really can drive great outcomes.”
Winsberg discusses some of the opportunities for telehealth to meet the needs of patients who can’t easily access care.
Telehealth “can take that geography problem out of the equation,” she says.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers free, 24/7 support for those in distress. Call or text 988.