Online therapy is a form of mental health counseling that takes place on the web using video calls, chat messages, or voice calls. According to a recent Grand View Research report, the global online therapy market size was valued at $83.5 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24% from 2023 to 2030.
Online therapy has been shown to be effective in treating mental health issues like depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, and addiction. It’s also well-researched globally by authoritative institutions, unlike more nascent concepts such as the use of GPT-4 for mental health intervention. In this article, we’ll explore how else it benefits employees and insurers in detail.
How Online Therapy Boosts Employee Performance and Well-Being
Employers are always looking for ways to maximize productivity and improve the work environment. Online therapy can positively impact employees’ mental health, which can translate into better performance and outcomes at work.
Improved Productivity, Creativity, and Engagement
Online therapy can help employees cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that can affect work performance. By providing them with professional support and guidance, therapy can help them overcome these challenges, as well as improve their mood and motivation.
Improved confidence often improves creativity and problem-solving skills. Through online therapy, employees learn new strategies to deal with troublesome situations, increasing engagement and employee commitment because they feel valued and supported by their employers.
Reduced Absenteeism, Turnover, and Burnout
Absenteeism, poor turnover, and burnout are major drains on company resources. By offering online therapy, employers can show employees that they care about their mental health and well-being, which can improve attendance and retention.
Online therapists can help employees cope with personal and professional transitions or crises, making it easier for them to manage work-life balance and avoid burnout.
Increased Flexibility, Convenience, and Accessibility
Many employers prefer online therapy because it offers more flexibility, convenience, and accessibility for employees. This is especially helpful for those who work remotely, have tight schedules, or have difficulty accessing in-office therapy.
With online therapy, employees can choose the time, place, and mode of therapy that suits their needs and preferences. It sometimes offers a wider range of options and a diversity of therapists because it has access to therapists from different locations, backgrounds, and specialties.
Enhanced Privacy and Confidentiality
Online therapy is accommodating to employees who feel hesitant to seek help for mental health issues independently, because of its enhanced privacy and confidentiality. It sometimes eliminates the need to disclose personal issues to employers or co-workers, as well as the risk of encountering people they know at a therapist’s office.
In some workplaces and cultures, the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health issues may be a point of disharmony. Online therapy is a good way for employees to address mental health issues without attracting attention because of it.
How Online Therapy Saves Money and Improves Insurer Service Quality
Along with its many benefits to employees, online therapy can also have a positive impact on the costs and quality of mental health care for insurers. It can lower expenses, increase utilization, and enhance the reputation and competitiveness of their services.
Lowered Mental Health Care Costs
Online therapy is typically cheaper than in-person therapy and can prevent more serious and expensive mental health issues. It effectively reduces overhead costs like rent, staff training, and specialized equipment or supplies.
Travel costs or reimbursements for both therapists and clients are also reduced by online therapy. It also helps reduce additional costs for hospitalization, medication, or disability claims that may result from untreated or poorly treated mental health issues.
Increased Utilization and Satisfaction of Mental Health Services
Due to its ability to reach more people who need help while providing them with quality care, online therapy can increase overall satisfaction with insurers. Online therapy allows insurers to expand mental health coverage to people who live in rural areas, have mobility issues, or face other barriers related to conventional therapy.
Online therapy offers a wider selection of therapists and modalities, simplifying finding the best match for individual needs and preferences. This can directly improve outcomes and satisfaction because clients receive personalized and timely care.
Enhanced Reputation and Competitiveness of Insurers
Online therapy can serve as a demonstration of an insurer’s commitment to innovation, social responsibility, and customer satisfaction. It shows that the insurer is aware of changing client needs and expectations, and is willing to accommodate them.
Providing this service is a way for insurers to show that they’re supportive of their client’s mental health and well-being, which can improve client trust and loyalty. This commitment helps insurers stand out from their competitors, who either don’t offer online therapy or offer limited options.
Is Online Therapy Comparable to Office-Based Sessions?
In-person therapy involves meeting with a therapist face-to-face in their office, which naturally allows for nonverbal cues as well as real-time interaction and behavioral analysis. While this might lead many people to dismiss online therapy as incomparable to its traditional counterpart, contemporary research finds this isn’t necessarily the case.
A 2014 study from the University of Leipzig comparing online and face-to-face therapy found that “an internet-based intervention for depression is equally beneficial to regular face-to-face therapy,” with long-term efficacy only being observed in the online test group. A similar 2018 study from the University of New South Wales comparing traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to internet-based CBT (iCBT) found that iCBT was “shown to be equally effective as face-to-face CBT” for issues like social anxiety, depression, and panic disorder.
Both online and in-person therapy can be effective for treating various mental health issues, such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, general stress, and relationship problems. However, the efficacy of online therapy may depend on factors such as the quality of the therapist-client relationship, the type and severity of the issue, the mode and frequency of communication, and the client’s motivation and engagement.
A Convenient Solution All-Around
Online therapy is a promising and beneficial option for both employees and insurers. It can improve mental health outcomes, reduce costs, and increase accessibility. It’s a convenient service that accommodates the changing needs and expectations of modern times, where online solutions are becoming the norm.
On the whole, online therapy is a great way to manage mental health and well-being while maximizing the benefits of digital interoperability.