Industry News Telemedicine

Filling Gaps in Healthcare: Why Unions Must be Concerned About Mental Health

Unions have long-advocated for American workers in a wide range of industries, from law enforcement and fire to healthcare and education. Indeed, the very first unions were formed to help workers fight against long hours, low pay, unsafe or unsanitary working conditions and a host of other workplace injustices.

Today, the U.S. workplace bears little resemblance to the factories, mills and mines of the Industrial Age, yet workers still need protections – and unions continue to step up. One key advantage of union membership is access to excellent benefits, an important perk given the skyrocketing cost of healthcare in the U.S. Even so, there’s still a big chasm when it comes to mental healthcare. Extremely narrow provider networks, long wait times, insurance reimbursement and even the stigma of seeking care make it difficult to access traditional mental health benefits – even when benefits are built into the health plan.

This is especially problematic for professionals in industries with a high incidence of mental health issues. For example, police officers, fire fighters, teachers and medical providers are at considerably higher risk of mental health issues than the general population. Since many of these professionals are represented by unions, it’s a prime opportunity for union leaders to step in and provide access to the care their workers need most.

The Teletherapy Solution

Teletherapy overcomes the barriers of geography, limited provider networks and high out-of-pocket costs. It is uniquely positioned to fill the chasm in mental health services and help unions address the mental health needs of their workers.

Teletherapy – delivered via phone or video – is appropriate for treating a range of issues including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, PTSD, grief, marital and family problems, and numerous other personal and professional stressors.

Its efficacy, too, is well-proven. The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness reports that telebehavioral health is effective in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, sleeplessness and other mental and emotional concerns. A large body of research shows that virtual mental healthcare achieves outcomes that are just as good as in-person care.

The MeMD Difference

MeMD’s patient-centric, user-friendly telebehavioral health platform makes it easy for people to get the care they need – at their convenience and from the privacy of their homes.

Members log on from their computer or mobile device to schedule their therapy session. They can connect with state-licensed, NCQA-credentialed therapist in as few as 48 hours. This is an important advantage, especially for someone whose stress has reached a crisis level and who can’t afford to wait. Sessions take place via phone or video from the privacy of the member’s home and at the member’s convenience. This, too, is important, especially for public safety workers, medical providers and other professionals whose don’t work a typical 9-5 schedule.

Once connected, the provider will design a care plan that may include short-term counseling, long-term therapy, or something in between. It’s a simple, cost-effective and highly valuable option for providing critically important benefits to people who need it most.

Learn more about MeMD’s virtual care solutions.

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