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Custom Internet Mental Health Issues Essay

Nowadays, the Internet can provide various people with diverse services depending on the assistance or issues they need to be solved. Almost everything that is required by humans has had a touch by the Internet in one way or another. The Internet is broadly used in institutions of health care to offer services to patients, and even help the health professionals solve and manage their tasks easily. The Internet is now being used to offer mental health services by health institutions or practitioners to mental health patients. This service is commonly known as online provision of mental health services.

The Online Mental Health Service

The online mental health service is commonly accompanied by traditional mental health services that are provided in person. However, no therapeutic techniques exist within the scope of the online provision of mental health services. Online counseling, also known as e-therapy, is when a psychotherapist or a professional counselor communicates with a patient suffering from a mental illness through the Internet to provide him or her with mental health advice, emotional support or some other professional services. This communication is usually conducted via chat, video, e-mail or even Internet calls. Such services are vitally essential especially when alternative sources of help, like traditional services, are not accessible. This service is conducted in private; it is only undertaken by qualified and skillful professionals. To a number of people, this is the only way they can be offered mental health services by professionals (Kathleene & Foojan, 2005).

Working with a therapist in person is much more preferable as compared to any other mode of therapy. However, many people are not in a position to see a therapist in person. Online mental health service is a sound counseling; though it is not the same as a fully-fledged psychotherapy, it still remains a highly effective source of help to people in need. The mental health industries may sometimes make it hard for ill people to get the required healthcare. Many people turn to the Internet system when the traditional system fails them. The online mental health services have a number of benefits. By using email, a patient or client is able to receive and send any message at any time of the night or day, never leaving any intermediary with the message. In addition, avoiding telephone tags and voicemail, being able to take enough time for one to compose and an opportunity to reflect to one’s message before submitting it, and having a communication record to refer to later appear to be the benefits of online healthcare (Kate, 2010).

Disadvantages of the Online Mental Health Service

An online mental health service has some drawbacks too. The client should be informed on all the potential risks involved before starting receiving mental health services online. A common risk when using email is that the message may be not received, which causes a lot of worry. It is crucial in counter checking the email destination to avoid the message being breached by sending it to the wrong recipient. Confidentiality is extremely valuable in a doctor-to-patient practice. In addition, there exist risks of emails being hacked in transit or by the Internet service providers, or by people having access to the computer and email accounts.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the code of ethics in these new areas of services, as well as the universal accepted regulations for preliminary training, is absent; thus, psychologist should  perform sagacious moves to guarantee full expertness of their practices and to safeguard their patients, students, clients, investigation participants and any other person or party from harm. When considering using the Internet as a mental health service, psychologists must review the service characteristics, provision of confidentiality and the service delivery method. They must then take into consideration all the relevant ethical standards and other affecting requirements such as board rules and licensure. According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) regarding the ethics of the Internet usage, all communication and services provided through the Internet should be as confidential as face-to-face communication. NASW insists to create and withhold a patient to doctor confidentiality (Ron , George & Cedric, 2010).

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Some health governing institutions are not yet determined to provide mental health services through the Internet, as the confidentiality issue is still not solved. Some health providers have taken a step of practicing without a license and began to offer online mental health services. These practices pose a serious threat to the health department, as the regulation of such health services is difficult. If certain health professionals work without a license, they risk the termination of ever-practicing medicine or a penalty if caught involved in illegal activities. The client can experience the risk of not receiving proper quality of services and the fact that there is no one to complain to.

The Internet has brought a tremendous change in the lives of people from different angles of life. In medicine and mostly the mental health department, it would be advisable to use the Internet as a mode of rendering service. This will ensure that a bigger number of people will have access to health services as compared to the traditional practicing. It is also extremely crucial for the health practitioners to come up with a way of ensuring maximum confidentiality; this is when the Internet mental health service is concerned. Though it is not an easy task to convey a message through the Internet and be fully understood, common terms used in medicine should be explained to patients and the online communication be made as easy as it can be. 

References                                          

  1. Ron, K., George, S., & Cedric, S. (2010). Online counseling, 2nd ed., Second Edition: A handbook for mental health professionals (practical resources for the mental health professional). New York, Academic Press Publishers.
  2. Kathleene, D. P., & Foojan, Z. (2005). Online therapy: A therapist's guide to expanding your practice. W. W. Norton & Company Publishers.
  3. Kate, A., & DeeAnna, M. N.(2010). Therapy online (US ONLY): A practical guide. Sage Publications Ltd. 
Code: Sample20

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