Skype Your Way To Better Mental Health

An innovative new program from Drexel University takes advantage of today’s available technology to provide mental health treatment to more Americans. Psychology professors Dr. James Herbert and Dr. Evan Forman, directors of Drexel's Anxiety Treatment and Research Program, believe that videoconferencing has the potential to be an easy and low-cost avenue for receiving specialized mental health counseling. They are studying this through a new program that will treat individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) through Skype.

As many as 25% of Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. OCD is a very severe anxiety disorder that affects more than 2.2 million Americans and leads to an estimated $8.4 billion in annual social and economic losses. While non-medication treatment for OCD and other anxiety disorders exists and can be very effective, many professionals aren’t trained in how to provide it. Drs. Herbert and Forman are finding that videoconferencing technology works to make mental health treatment more widely available, more cost-effective, and more convenient for patients.

If counseling from trained mental health professionals from the comfort of a patient’s living room becomes commonplace, it could help put specialized treatment within the reach of those who need it most, regardless of their location. This has the potential to help thousands of people and could revolutionize the delivery of non-medication mental health treatment.

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