Telepsychiatry Practices in the COVID-19 Era

COVID-19 Dönemi Telepsikiyatri Uygulaması

Under the changing conditions of life during the COVID-19 era, we are witnessing online meetings in every aspect of life. A national study published in the American Psychologists Journal (2020) put forward that this transformation was visibly increasing in institutions providing psychiatric and psychological health services.

Named telepsychiatry and telepsychology based on the services provided, these practices are basically defined as the provision of mental health services by a mental health expert through a video conference technology.

The research conducted at the Virginia Commonwealth University analyzed:

  • The telepsychology services provided before the pandemic;
  • The telepsychology services provided during the pandemic;
  • The telepsychology services expected to be provided after the pandemic;

and the demographic, political, and clinical effects that could explain the transformation in the use of telepsychology.

Below is shown the percentile share of the telepsychology in the clinical services provided by psychologists:

Share of Pre-Pandemic Telepsychology Services (%) Share of Telepsychology Services During the Pandemic (%) Share of Telepsychology Services Expected After the Pandemic (%)

The study shows that the use of the telepsychology services increased 12 times more during the pandemic era, and it estimates that the telepsychology services will keep preserving their importance after the pandemic.

The demographic, political, and clinical factors being effective in the use of the telepsychology services are as follows:

  • Female psychologists play a bigger role in the increase in the use of telepsychology.
  • The institutions supporting the telepsychology education are increasing in numbers.
  • The increase is observed more in outpatient clinics.
  • The use of telepsychology seems to be increasing if the service provided is related to relationship problems, the problems of female patients, and anxiety disorder.

On the other hand, if the service provided:

  • is in a rural area;
  • is related to the treatment of anti-social personality disorder;
  • requires test procedures and assessment;
  • or includes the treatment of a rehabilitation group, then the increase in the use of telepsychology services seems to be much less.

As a result, even though the use of telepsychology had a visible increase during the Covid-19 era, it was observed that the use of telepsychology by psychologists was affected by certain individual and practice-related situations.

Pierce, B. S., Perrin, P. B., Tyler, C. M., McKee, G. B., & Watson, J. D. (2020). The COVID-19 telepsychology revolution: A national study of pandemic-based changes in US mental health care delivery. American Psychologist.