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Wellness Wednesday: The rising acceptance of mental telehealth

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jun 04, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — If there's one good thing that came out of the coronavirus pandemic, it might be the acceptance of behavioral Telehealth.

  • Telehealth is a mental wellness game changer in Idaho
  • For those living in rural areas, it's a literal lifeline
  • Idaho is the 14th worst in the country for mental health care according to Forbes

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Doctors say Telehealth for mental wellness is a game changer for Idaho, since access to medical professionals has been a problem here for a long time.

"We're a big state, we're geographically disparate, and we don't have enough clinicians to care for the volume of patients we have," said Dr. Daniel Meltzer, with Regence Blue Shield of Idaho.

But along comes coronavirus, a horrible pandemic that did have a bright spot. It helped move medicine into a new era of virtual access.

"If you live in a rural area," said Dr. Meltzer, "this is a literal lifeline and the other thing is people often feel more comfortable in the privacy of their car or their bedroom or their home."

Granted, there's no physical exam that can take place.

But while coronavirus gave us a new emphasis on Telehealth, Dr. Meltzer says it was also a big part of the need.

"Many teens lost their socialization they became further isolated they had challenges with education and physical activities."

"The good news is we're de-stigmatizing to some extent the ability to talk about behavioral health challenges." Dr. Meltzer adds, "they've always been there. We've just always shoved them down."

Idaho's standing in the country for mental health care is not as bad as you might think. According to Forbes we're 14th worst, while Texas, Georgia, and Alabama are the top 3 worst.