Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Mental Telehealth Appointment
Mental telehealth and video therapy can provide you with the vital care you need—when, where, and how you need it. At Amen Clinics, we understand that this time is very valuable to you, and we want you to get the most out of it. To make virtual mental health as effective as possible, follow these tips for before, during, and after your appointment.
BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT
Recognize that it may be an adjustment.
If you’re used to seeing your mental health professional in their office, it may take some time to adjust to this new process. Take heart that our patients typically find video conferencing beneficial. Here’s what some Amen Clinics physicians are saying about virtual appointments:
“My patients are enjoying connecting via video conference calls. They seem to be more relaxed talking from their own home.” —Dr. Jennifer Love
“My patients have found the video conference evaluations to be meaningful and they are surprised at the level of connection that is being made.” —Dr. Robert Johnson
Know and track your symptoms.
Make a list of the main symptoms you want to address in the conversation. Also be sure to indicate when your symptoms started, what tends to exacerbate them, and what, if anything, seems to soothe them.
Write down questions.
Remember that mental health appointments are a two-way street. This is your chance to ask questions you have about your symptoms, brain scan, diagnosis, and treatment. Having a list of questions ready can help you remember to ask them.
Have your medical and psychiatric history handy.
Your Amen Clinics specialist may ask questions about past medical or psychological issues in addition to inquiring about names and dosages of medications you have taken. Having this information available can save precious minutes during your appointment so you can spend more time talking about how you are going to get healthy.
Minimize distractions and choose a quiet, comfortable spot.
One of the best strategies to ensure a meaningful appointment is to eliminate distractions. Close your door, turn off the notifications on your phone, and make sure someone is watching the kids so you can focus. Being able to hear clearly is another important element of an effective mental telehealth appointment. Try to minimize any background noise, such as the TV, the washing machine, or a barking dog. In addition, it’s important that you feel comfortable in your setting during your appointment. Find a spot where you are relaxed and at ease.
Troubleshoot technology beforehand.
Find out what technology will be used and make sure you know how to use it prior to your appointment. Are you signed up for Zoom, Skype, or another video conferencing app? Do you know how it works? If you have never used the app before, do a practice call with a friend beforehand so you can work out the kinks.
Set an alert.
Most of us can benefit from helpful reminders and alerts from our digital calendars. Setting your calendar to send you an alert 5-10 minutes prior to your virtual session can give you the time to gather your lists and questions and to prepare yourself mentally. Reminders can be especially critical if you have a tendency to be forgetful or inattentive.
Unblock your phone.
If you’re doing a phone call, make sure your phone isn’t set to block unknown callers and answer your phone at the designated time even if it shows that it’s from an unknown caller.
DURING YOUR APPOINTMENT
Take notes and/or ask for a recap.
When you begin your call, ask if it will be recorded or if you’ll be receiving a recap of what you talk about. It’s always a good idea to take notes to help you remember the most important insights and recommendations.
Be ready to open up.
Don’t hold back emotionally. Be unreservedly honest and open about your symptoms, fears, challenges, and frustrations, and be equally candid about what you’re hoping to get from treatment.
Ask about follow-ups.
Check with your mental healthcare professional about follow-up sessions so you have a complete understanding of your treatment path.
AFTER YOUR APPOINTMENT
Follow through on recommendations.
Your virtual sessions are only part of a comprehensive treatment plan. To make the most of it, you need to stick with your provider’s recommendations and keep any follow-up appointments.
Remind yourself that you’re worth it.
On a routine basis, remind yourself that seeking treatment for your mental health is one of the most important things you can do for your overall quality of life. And always remember that you deserve it. By taking the steps now to engage in mental telehealth, you’re setting yourself up for enhanced brain health and emotional well-being, so you can feel better fast.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or other mental health issues, you aren’t alone—45% of Americans say the coronavirus pandemic has impacted their mental health. Just because you’re sheltering at home doesn’t mean you have to wait for the pandemic to be over before seeking help. In fact, during these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever, and waiting to get treatment is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.
At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples, as well as in-clinic brain scanning to help our patients. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.