Note: this post was recently updated on May 16, 2022.

Increasingly, the social and economic costs of unmet behavioral health needs are becoming more apparent and salient. Dr. Nikole-Benders-Hadi, medical director of behavioral health at Included Health, elaborates best practices for incorporating virtual behavioral healthcare as a part of your benefits and shared insights for evaluating existing provider networks. Below we highlight her main takeaways.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 119 million Americans today live in ‘mental health deserts,’ locations where patients have little or no access to therapeutic or mental health care.

Shortage of healthcare workers

Even in major U.S. cities, the average wait time to see a psychiatrist is 25 days. And this shortage of mental health providers is only getting worse over time. Due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in mental health issues, like stress levels for everyone, but it has disproportionately affected certain groups, such as healthcare workers, essential workers, and women.

How can employers provide the best behavioral healthcare for their employees as they look at their own health plans?

As a first step, employers may want to take a good look at their current network capacity to answer an important question: can their existing network scale to meet the rise in demand for behavioral health treatment? Given that 65% of non-metropolitan counties don’t have a single psychiatrist and the average wait times to see a psychiatrist is 25 days, this assessment is incredibly important.

One potential way to successfully mitigate the shortage of providers is through virtual behavioral care. 

Our approach is to provide a continuum across a full spectrum of behavioral health services, from coaching and preventive care to therapy and psychiatry. Our goal is to ensure that members receive the right care and support they deserve.

Our physicians receive extensive, ongoing training that strengthens their ‘webside manner’ and addresses the entire patient experience. With a diverse provider team with an average of 17 years of experience, we hold a relationship-centric philosophy to therapeutic treatment and have a 95% case resolution rate.

Members can quickly schedule appointments — including same-day — to ensure that their health needs are met. Our anytime, anywhere access gives employees care navigation in less than 30 seconds, clinical care in minutes, and behavioral health visits within just a few days.

A truly integrated health solution incorporating preventive care measures can deliver compassionate, coordinated, and effective health care to help patients live fuller and happier lives.

If you’d like to discuss how virtual behavioral healthcare can help your company meet the rising demand, get in touch with us