As we progress into an entirely virtual and digitally tech-driven society, some significant adjustments still need to be addressed. Crisis intervention is a critical interjection for a person who has an emergent mental health concern. While the reasoning behind these crises can vary, one thing remains constant.
As a nation, we are making great strides toward the future success of our citizens. Everything we could possibly want or need is available in some virtual or digital form, each having various levels and stages of interaction. Many things can be done now without having to set foot in an office setting or scheduling appointments months in advance. Waiting in lines has also seemed to become a thing of the past in many aspects of our lives with the capability of virtual ordering off of websites and with restaurants.
This change has also started to impact the way we provide our healthcare, with the new offerings of virtual healthcare appointments, prescriptions management, as well as some diagnostic testing and test result delivery. Mental health has had a significant leap toward the digital age with the increased offering of behavioral health care–right from our phones and computers. Numerous, and with a growing number, companies are starting to offer virtual platforms focused solely on behavioral health. There are so many different platforms that can help meet the needs we have for the care we want and deserve.
Recently, the Suicide Helpline has even changed its’ phone number in order to make it more accessible and easier to remember. This was a significant step forward as the new 988 crisis phone number is easier to remember and be directed to in an emergency. While this is a step in the right direction, some crisis still requires medical intervention. What if this is not possible for some people? Not everyone has the capability to get to a care center in an emergency. There is a growing need for a virtual crisis intervention to step in where the 988 number cannot. The need for a virtual crisis team would have doctors and crisis workers ready to step in when needed.
We continuously hear about how the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything and reverted so many years of progress. One major aspect of healthcare seemed to flourish: the behavioral health field. Through the power of digital technology, this field has received a much-needed boost, with advances in the field, diagnostic tools, treatment, and accessibility. It is now much more common to hear individuals and providers discussing behavioral health treatment.
Treatment accessibility continues to plague the healthcare field, especially when it comes to behavioral health and, subsequently, behavioral health crisis care. There is still a limited number of behavioral health providers that are available in person at local hospitals or in combination with health care facilities, which can make obtaining care in a crisis tricky. Rural areas continue to make the list of areas with inaccessible care, as well as care for those with mobility issues or other physical blockers. There need to be options for those who cannot seek the care they need when they are in the most need. Many patients have had issues with unnecessary emergency room visits that were not equipped to handle their care needs or waiting for beds for those who need immediate care when in a crisis. This is where the need for virtual crisis care can come into play. Many more people would be able to receive the care that they require if there were more options available for immediate behavioral or suicide crisis care.
With the growing need for virtual crisis care so prominent, many companies are stepping up. There are some companies that have recently announced their entrance into the virtual crisis field. These companies are already leaders in the virtual behavioral healthcare field and are taking a stand to help support their clients in the best ways that they can.
In December of 2022, Brightside announced Crisis Care, a national telehealth program for treating individuals with elevated suicide risk. Their focus is on helping to prevent avoidable and unnecessary ER visits, which can risk lives and increase healthcare costs. This option will be available nationwide once it rolls out.
Array Behavioral Care announced in January 2023, in collaboration with CVS Health, will allow them to expand their care to a more on-demand availability in order to help ease the burden of emergency rooms nationwide. On-demand care is a huge benefit for these types of mental health emergencies.
There are constantly new companies adding digital behavioral health and behavioral health tech innovations to the market. The influx of so many new ideas creates competition for these companies to be bigger and better than the ones before them. It also provides a platform for groundbreaking and innovative new technology to meet the growing needs of this once otherwise ignored field of medicine.
There is hope for the future of behavioral health care in the ever-changing and endlessly evolving digital technology. With many companies creating and adopting virtual care for behavioral health, it is only a matter of time before these companies begin to offer a wide range of virtual crisis care management.
The change in the 988 phone number was just the tip of the iceberg for immediate mental health crisis assistance. There is so much more that we can do and so much more to be done. We need more companies like Brightside and Array to step up and help to fill this crisis intervention care gap. With all the increased number of mental health providers, we have the opportunity to continue to make major positive impacts on those patients who need care the most. Are we up for the challenge?
For more on Brightside’s innovation, please click here.
For more on Array’s innovation, please click here.