Teladoc Health UK’s phone therapy service grows fivefold in a year
A specialist mental health psychotherapeutic service has expanded more than fivefold in the space of a year.
Usage of Teladoc Health UK’s telephone therapy grew dramatically during 2021 as workers and their families faced continued difficulties in lockdown. Teladoc Health UK has an in-house team of psychologists, psychotherapists and mental health counsellors.
Sessions for patients being treated for common mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and bereavement increased fivefold from December 2020 to September 2021.
For example, one customer saw therapy sessions increase from under 600 per month to over 3,000 in this period.
In December 2021, Teladoc Health UK analysed the positive impact of the therapy on the patients.
Before the start of the therapy, just over one in four people (28%) were experiencing low-level psychological issues, nearly two in three experienced moderate psychological distress (64%), and some presented with heightened distress (8%).
After the completion of on-average four sessions, nearly four in five (78%) were shifted to a non-clinical or low level of psychological distress, proving the effectiveness of this service.
Teladoc Health UK works with the world’s leading life, health, accident and travel insurers, general insurers and affinity groups to deliver this service to their customers.
Laura Scarrone Bonhomme, Teladoc Health UK’s Head of Mental Health Services, said: “We’ve found telephone therapy to be as effective as in-person therapy or video-conferencing.
“The privacy of the phone call has allowed people to open up more – and that has brought faster and better results.
“Many employees across a variety of industries often don’t realise they have this benefit, and the same is true of life insurance policy holders.”
Guy Gross, COO at Teladoc Health UK, said: “I’m always hearing heart-warming stories of how Teladoc Health UK’s clinicians and self-help tools have transformed the lives of our members, whether partnering them through their toughest physical and mental challenges, or simply supporting them to lead happier, healthier lives.
“Our services deliver incredible outcomes and experiences. We are unlocking never-before-seen opportunities in the virtual care space across the planet.”
Shazia Akhtar, 46, single mum from Swindon
Shazia qualified for telephone counselling through her employment with a consultancy firm. She was amazed by the results and was so inspired that she is now training to be a counsellor herself.
She said: “I was going through a difficult period in my life at the start of 2020 and I found myself really upset. I couldn’t understand my emotions and just needed answers.
“The distress had become more intense by August 2020 and out of desperation, I decided to try counselling to see if it could help. If I’m being honest, I didn’t have high expectations.
“I had six sessions and it was just amazing. I think it was just the experience of being able to tell someone for the first time how I felt. Just talking and learning how to manage everything.”
Shazia told how she was much more comfortable with phone counselling than she would have been with an in-person equivalent.
She said: “I was very happy that it was over the phone. It was a difficult subject to talk about. I interact better behind a phone rather than face to face. I have always been that type of a person.
“Keeping eye contact and having the presence of someone else in the room makes me feel as if I can’t truly open up. I was in my own room and felt more comfortable.”
Shazia, who is a British Pakistani, is also keen to encourage more Asian women and men to undergo counselling if they are struggling.
She said: “I think there are some Asian families who want to keep their problems to themselves. They don’t want to disclose. It’s just buckle up and get on with it, that kind of attitude.
“It’s even harder for Asian men. A male relative in my wider family was having a hard time and I suggested he should have some counselling. But he wasn’t keen. There is definitely a cultural issue among some Asian men that counselling is for women.”
“I’ve been going through a separation process and so I’ve been attending quite a few sessions with different counsellors over the years. The Teladoc psychologist wasn’t my first one.
“I was very surprised to see how results-driven my Teladoc psychologist was. I’ve spent a year and eight months with another counsellor, and she didn’t manage to do what he did in just four sessions.
“He really helped me to see what my strengths are and what the triggers are for my relationship. I was able to identify what those problems were with his help.
“My therapy was included with my insurance. I’ve never tried something for free, I’ve always paid for my counsellor sessions privately. When I first looked, I thought – should I go? I thought if it was just included in my insurance, that it would not be good. I wasn’t sure if I should go, but when I did, I was very surprised that I actually found somebody that was very, very good.”
“I contacted the service for help as I suffered a bereavement a few years ago and I was suffering from deeply rooted feelings of guilt, which were getting worse and stopping me sleeping.
“The session with my Teladoc counsellor enabled me to talk about something I’ve never talked about before.
“Through gentle guidance, she gave me the space to talk freely, which actually led me to a path I hadn’t ever considered before.
“She also gave me tools which I found immensely helpful and therapeutic, particularly targeted for my bereavement situation.
“Speaking with a professional helped me look at things differently and made me realise that there were certain situations for which I wasn’t to blame, they were simply out of my control.”