Treating behavioral health conditions through telehealth is becoming the “new normal”

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant mental health challenges for many around the world, both directly due to the consequences of the disease, and indirectly due to the difficult circumstances that arise from mitigation strategies.

During the pandemic, the gap in care for mental illnesses and substance use disorders has been magnified by the reduction in face-to-face office visits for treatment resulting from restrictions on elective care visits, physical distancing guidelines, and the fear of spreading or contracting the disease. This challenge is being addressed by some insurers and providers through rapidly increasing use of telehealth tools to provide treatment for mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

In this article, Milliman’s Steve Melek, Stoddard Davenport, and Travis Gray explain why telehealth visits may become part of the “new normal” for replacing, or at least supplementing, office visit-based treatment for behavioral health conditions.