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The evolving world of technology and behavioral health care

By Ish Bhalla | May 20, 2021 | Healthy Lifestyle, Mental Health

Considering what’s going on today, more of us are talking about our mental health. And with good reason. The pandemic has devastated communities around the world. Beyond the physical toll, COVID-19 has left behind a wake of emotional trauma. 

Even if you don’t know someone directly affected by COVID-19, its effects have changed the way we use our support systems in times of stress and uncertainty. I have come to rely on meeting with friends and family to keep me grounded. A 10-second hug from someone who knows you well can be much more reassuring than a 2-hour long phone call.  

But the pandemic has also changed the way we get professional mental health care. Doctors use telehealth more and more to see patients. This trend is especially helpful for behavioral health. Therapists don’t need to perform physical exams and procedures to provide high quality treatment.   

One interesting way to use technology for behavioral health is computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (cCBT).

What is cCBT?

With cCBT, people can get immediate access to a variety of treatments for mental health conditions. It can help with insomnia, depression, anxiety, and trauma. 

Traditional cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on challenging negative thought patterns and regulating our emotions. But cCBT takes this method from the therapist’s office to your pocket. With an app or a website, you can get 24/7 access to treatment. And you don’t even need to schedule an appointment.  

Online CBT platforms might offer videos or articles about understanding your emotions. They might also provide exercises that help you identify thoughts and behaviors that affect your mental health. cCBT trains you to adjust your thinking to take on stressful situations, leading to mental wellness and improved mood. 

Is digital mental health care right for everyone? 

Of course, the answer is that it depends on your individual situation. The biggest factor is your preference as a patient. 

Some people prefer in-person treatment to start and then transition to telehealth after they get to know the provider. Others are happy to get telehealth treatment only and never meet their provider in-person. 

You can also do cCBT on your own or alongside treatment from your doctor or therapist.  

How to find mental health support 

If you’re a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) member, you may have access to some of these tools through your plan.

One is Quartet Health, a technology platform that matches members with mental health providers who can care for them. This platform is available to most Blue Cross NC plans. Call the number on the back of your card or check with your employer to see if this is part of your plan.

Graphic explains how to get started with Quartet: Sign up on QuartetHealth.com, answer a few questions about yourself, and someone will reach out to you to welcome you and help you match with a behavioral health provider.

If you prefer cCBT, just let your Quartet Health navigator know. 

No matter how you choose to get therapy when you need it, the most important thing is that you get treatment somewhere. We’re here to help. 

Quartet Health is an independent company providing behavioral health support services on behalf of Blue Cross NC. Quartet Health does not offer Blue Cross or Blue Shield products or services.