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Online counseling sparks during pandemic

Online Counseling
KIFI/KIDK
Online Counseling

REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Our mental health can be a critical element to staying physically healthy during these days of social distancing. Now mental health professionals are making it possible to get help from our own homes.

"With the recession in 2007 2009, people who were impacted from housing situations, bankruptcies, job loss, or decrease in income. The research has indicated that three to four years later, after the recession, they had increased symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic, you know, unhealthy coping mechanisms through drug use alcohol use," said CEO of Integrated Counseling and Wellness, Luke Einerson.

COVID-19 has left many people in difficult situations, physically, economically and mentally. Integrated Counseling and Wellness is one of many practices offering online counseling; however, Einerson tells us the big problem is not all insurance companies are covering the service long term after the pandemic.

Einerson's practice has been receiving the same message from many insurance companies, "In response to COVID-19 we will temporarily provide x, y, &, z benefits," he says it's not enough. "This is not a short term issue as it relates to mental health."

Still, this online counseling option gives more people access to therapists.

"It's really hard to get mental health professionals in the area, especially rural areas, you put all that together and that's not a good recipe for our health as communities and as a state," Einerson said.

Without that easy access for everyone in the state, Einerson says the aftermath of mental health problems from this crisis will impact our communities for many years.

"Folks can just think of people that they know or maybe themselves who struggled with anxiety, depression, panic, addictions, those symptoms, increase, and when those increase in a family, that stress strains it. It proliferates to employers and to the rest of the community."

Einerson says reaching out to your insurance company and asking them to provide coverage for online counseling can help spark change.

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Jilliana Colin

Jilliana Colina

Jilliana is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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