Even before the ongoing effects of COVID-19 thrust mental health into the national spotlight, virtual and digital mental health services were on the rise. The strain of shifting to remote work, at-home schooling, and social isolation exacerbated the need for – and the gaps in – mental health treatment in healthcare.
Telemedicine and digital tools are here to stay, and they’re improving
Telemedicine rapidly evolved from an emerging technology in the healthcare space to an essential means of providing care. Blue Shield expanded access to telemedicine – for physical and behavioral health – during the pandemic through our Teladoc services. Utilization has soared: virtual mental health visits increased 2000% from 2019 to 2020. Teladoc telehealth visits were made a permanent benefit for our 2021 portfolio plans for fully insured groups.
Although employee mental health gained attention during the pandemic, the correlation of wellness for employees and the productivity of companies is not new and we’ve been working on digital solutions for mental health well before COVID-19. Blue Shield of California’s Wellvolution platform has been available for years, helping members take control of their health and well-being.
We recently added two new apps to the platform making receiving mental health support easier: Ginger and Headspace. Both apps allow members to receive mental health support from the comforts of home. Headspace is a science-backed meditation app built for reducing stress. The app features over 1000 hours of exercises, hundreds of guided meditations, and much more. All with the goal of helping users increase resilience and achieve a better night’s rest. The Ginger app uses text-based chatting to provide mental health coaching and – along with a self-care library and video-based therapy – lets users receive mental health support from the comforts of home.
Listen to our Healthy Dose of Dialogue podcast for more perspectives on mental health
Senior leaders at Blue Shield of California invite industry leaders to share fresh perspectives and engage in healthy dialogue about transformative marketplace trends and industry insights, including these episodes on mental health:
- A Dose of Mental Health Trends and Digital Innovations (January 2022)Dr. Dana Udall, Chief Clinical Officer at Headspace Health, discusses mental health trends and the unprecedented adoption of digital solutions – including the crucial role telehealth plays in expanding access to services, and the mental health sector’s supply/demand imbalance in the pandemic.
- Big Topics in Small Doses. Episode 1: Mental Health (August 2021) Insights from industry experts about the evolving landscape of mental health and what can be done to ensure this essential service is effective and accessible for everyone.
- A Dose of Pediatric Behavioral Health Care with Naomi Allen, Co-Founder and CEO of Brightline (June 2021) Naomi Allen, co-founder and CEO of Brightline and a leading entrepreneur, discusses how Brightline addresses the growing demand for behavioral health care and reinventing the way it is delivered for children, teens, and their families.
- A Dose of Mental Health Equity with Patrick J. Kennedy, Founder of The Kennedy Forum (May 2021) Patrick J. Kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum and author of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, dives into health equity, de stigmatizing mental health, and treating mental health as part of whole-person health.
The above episodes, and more, are available on Podbean here. Our News Center is your go-to source for the latest news and services from Blue Shield of California, including this article on The Future of Telehealth. To have News Center alerts delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe here.