Online therapy is the answer to beat mental health crisis, psychologist says

Being in quarantine should not stop you from getting the treatment you need especially if it concerns your mental health.

This global pandemic gets harder now that it has taken an effect on people’s mental health.

Dr Christine Korol | Vancouver Anxiety Centre

Dr Christine Korol, a registered psychologist at Vancouver Anxiety Centre and a professor at the University of British Columbia, has about 15 years of practice of online therapy for her patients on remote communities. She says that online therapies, backed up with several studies and research, is just as effective as face-to-face counselling.

If this current situation is challenging for us because we stopped working, or maybe we’re overwhelmed with working from home, we don’t get enough outdoor activities, no social life, or simply because our regular schedule is messed up, then we must know that this is tougher for those who are suffering from anxiety, depression, OCD, and other types of mental illness.

But what can we do to help our friends, family, and ourselves during this time of crisis?

Dr Korol says it’s always good to ask. Simply ask how they’re doing. “What can I do to help?” “Do you need a distraction?” “Do you need some motivation to stay active?” These simple questions can help start a conversation and get them to open up. Remember that you are there as their family to support and not as their therapist. Do not feel overwhelmed, instead let them know and encourage them to seek professional help online.

This quarantine period might also be a trigger for people with anxiety and depression. Everyone is vulnerable. It can be you, your sister, your best friend or someone else from your home. Dr Korol says it’s important to take note that we are going through a lot of changes right now and signs such as lacking energy, irritability, and mood swings are enough reason to check in with a mental health professional.

You can easily find a psychologist online, connect with them, and ask for a checkup. Reaching out to a psychologist sooner is easier rather than later. This will allow them to “nip some problem in the bud” Dr Korol says.

According to Dr Korol, online therapy isn’t only limited to phonecalls and zoom calls. She also exchanges emails with her patients. She sends them parts of workbooks to work on and instructions and so they would write back to her too. She says her patients are liking the idea of having a “smart pen-pal”. Online therapy services are also being offered in Regina, Saskatchewan and email therapy is one of their most-used methods.

Online therapy gives the same impact as face-to-face counselling and has become a big help during this difficult time. “It’s really encouraging that it (online therapy) exists, and people don’t have to worry about getting the care they need.” Dr Korol says.

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