Mental health services offered to patients without leaving their home

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- One in five Americans deals with a mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Even more startling, many people who need treatment can't afford it or can't find the time for it.

That's why a mental health facility here in West Michigan is trying to break those barriers through technology.

If you own a computer, a mobile device, or a tablet with a camera, you can take part in what Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services calls Telehealth therapy.

Certified professionals are now able to provide therapy sessions anywhere in Michigan using an online video chat that's just like Skype or Facetime and, as with a face-to-face session, it's totally confidential.

Pine Rest staff tell us this therapy has been shown to be just as effective as in-person therapy. They say it's also perfect for someone with a busy schedule, someone who needs an appointment right away, or someone with a transportation issue, high anxiety, or a high profile job like a police officer, teacher, or EMT.

"What we really found is that people don't want to go into a clinic and be seen with basically their neighbors, or maybe with the students they teach, or maybe it's somebody who's a first-responder, or somebody who's in health care, who feels much more comfortable on that video connection," said licensed psychologist Dr. Bruce Retterath.

The cost of Telehealth therapy is similar to traditional therapy varies depending on your insurance. For more details check out Pine Rest's scheduling tool.

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