First Stop Health Adds Virtual Mental Health Service to Help Patients Combat Mounting Issues Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Virtual service gives patients convenient, remote access to licensed mental health counselors quickly and at no cost

Nearly half of America’s workers say that work-related concerns have left them hopeless or exhausted as they grapple with COVID-191. But significant barriers often prevent people from getting treatment for mental health conditions, especially during a pandemic. First Stop Health is now offering Virtual Mental Health in conjunction with its Telemedicine service to help workers and their loved ones get the support and treatment they need.

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Virtual Mental Health allows patients to receive remote guidance and short-term counseling for such mental health issues as stress, depression, anxiety, grief and substance abuse, as well as marital, work and family issues. Available with First Stop Health Telemedicine, patients whose employers sign up for Virtual Mental Health now have access to a national network of counselors via app, web or phone.

COVID-19 has drastically changed Americans’ lives. In June, the unemployment rate was 11% compared to 3.5% in February, and higher than unemployment during the Great Recession which topped out at 9.9% in 20102. Stay-at-home orders have caused an increase in calls to domestic abuse hotlines, and isolation is a risk factor for suicide3. Others are facing health risks every day, on the front lines, working in hospitals, doctor’s offices, grocery stores and other essential services.

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“Disruptions resulting from COVID-19 have caused more Americans to feel stressed, anxious and alone,” said Dr. Mark Friedman, MD FACEP FACP, Chief Medical Officer of First Stop Health. “We could see an uptick in mental illness as Americans struggle to find stability and feel safe.”

According to National Institute of Mental Health statistics, 47 million Americans, or nearly one in five adults, live with a mental illness4. Those who seek care often face barriers including cost, poor insurance coverage and a shortage of mental healthcare professionals5. More than 26 million, or 57%, of adults with a mental illness, receive no treatment6.

“We are dedicated to caring for the well-being of our patients,” said Patrick Spain, CEO of First Stop Health. “Our patients need more support than ever as they not only manage their day-to-day physical needs, but face great stress and difficult personal circumstances during these difficult times.”

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