Telehealth is failing Michigan’s mental health clients

By Marianne Huff: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Countless clients and health care providers will tell you that telehealth — using video or phone calls to conduct medical appointments — has improved health care. As someone who regularly provides outpatient mental health services to individuals, I must respectfully disagree.

It’s true that telehealth was a critical tool for many during the early days of the pandemic. As an ongoing means of delivering health care, however, it can have serious shortcomings for individuals with more significant mental health conditions.

There’s a lot happening during a mental health appointment. I’m listening to my client, yes. But I’m also taking note of things like the person’s grooming and hygiene. I’m tracking eye contact, or lack thereof. I’m observing a person’s hand movements, fidgeting or foot tapping. These subtle details allow clinicians like me to see the entirety of a patient’s condition.

Yet only a few of these nuances can be picked up through a camera lens. With telehealth, you often see clients from the waist up, so a lot of clinical information can be missed.

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