This article was last updated on Jan. 13, 2023.
When you hear the words “virtual doctor,” what comes to mind? A hologram popping up at a moment’s notice? A robot you chat with online?
It’s easy to let your imagination run wild, especially if you haven’t given virtual visits — also known as telehealth services — a try yet. But a virtual doctor is just like any other board-certified physician — you just receive treatment via a video call from your phone, tablet or computer.
And as it turns out, virtual doctors can play a huge part in your mental health, in addition to your overall health.
How a virtual doctor can treat your mental health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 percent of people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with a mental illness External Site or disorder at some point in their lifetime. And, based on a Blue Cross® Blue Shield® Health of AmericaSM Report External Site, six out of the top ten conditions impacting the millennial generation are behavioral conditions related to mental and emotional well-being.
Yet, more than half of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment External Site, according to Mental Health America. From perceived social stigma to lack of access, many people find it can be challenging to reach out for help. But it doesn’t have to be.
Mental health care is always available through Doctor On Demand®.
As part of your health benefits, most Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield members have virtual visit benefits through Doctor On Demand. Doctor On Demand gives you 24/7 access to doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and other medical experts. You can even select and see your favorite providers again and again.
Is seeing a virtual doctor the best option for my mental health?
You and your virtual doctor will decide the best course of treatment for your specific needs. Maybe you would prefer in-person one-on-one counseling or group therapy sessions. But if you’re not sure, virtual visits are a great place to start and figure out what works best for you.
Here are a few benefits of choosing virtual visits.
- Convenience: According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America External Site, the benefits of therapy are usually seen 12–16 weeks after starting. It’s not always possible for people to consistently schedule and make time for these appointments. Virtual visits fit into your schedule to make consistent treatment as easy as possible.
- Affordability: Cost of care can be a huge barrier for people seeking mental health treatment. Virtual visits may be covered by your Wellmark health insurance plan. And, even if they aren't, they may still be more affordable than regular trips to a mental health professional. Just make sure you log in to myWellmark® and check your specific benefits Secure Site before receiving care.
- Privacy: Over time you should develop a relationship with your virtual doctor. But texting, emails, and phone calls can be an easier way to build trust and open up about sensitive feelings you may be experiencing.
If you've been wondering how to get help with your mental health, a virtual doctor visit might be a place to begin. So reach out, ask questions, and get started. It could be just what you need for a boost in your health.
If you are concerned about your mental health and need immediate help, please take advantage of the resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control External Site.
Doctor On Demand physicians do not prescribe Drug Enforcement Administration-controlled substances, and may elect not to treat conditions or prescribe other medications based on what is clinically appropriate.
For plans that include benefits for mental health treatment, Doctor On Demand benefits may include treatment for certain psychological conditions, emotional issues and chemical dependency. Services performed by Doctor On Demand psychologists are covered. For more information, call Wellmark at the number on your ID card.
Doctor On Demand by Included Health is a separate company providing an online telehealth solution for Wellmark members. Doctor On Demand® is a registered mark of Doctor On Demand, Inc.