What Could the Future of Mental Health Care Look Like?

The coronavirus pandemic’s impacts are changing how people view mental health care. These changes help individuals better understand themselves and their shared experiences. They also are shaping what the future of mental health care could look like.


As mental health care continues to evolve, there is curiosity about where the field may be headed. The following are areas that are likely to grow.


Discover what the future of mental health care could look like in these three areas.


Virtual Therapy Sessions

The pandemic restrictions caused therapy sessions to be carried out online. This encouraged a significant number of individuals to find help.


Therapy that was provided virtually increased accessibility for patients. It also was proven to be as effective as in-person treatment. As a result, virtual therapy sessions are here to stay.


Some therapists are taking these therapy sessions one step further by including virtual reality (VR) in their treatment of phobias, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Patients wear headsets to safely be exposed to recreations of triggering environments or experiences similar to the ones they struggle with. Examples include speaking on stage, walking across a bridge, and inhabiting a small enclosed space. The therapist then helps the patient process the triggering environment or traumatic event in a controlled manner.


VR therapy lets patients get help when and where needed in an affordable way. This helps bridge the gap between the increasing need for mental health services and the limited number of mental health care professionals.


Nutritional Psychology

The impact of a person’s eating habits on their mental health is being more closely studied. Because the gut and the brain are connected, each affects the other.


As a result, what is put into the stomach affects the individual’s mood, behavior, and mental health. Therefore, food can impact symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Incorporating food into treatment plans provides a more holistic approach to mental health. As a result, methodologies and curricula are being formalized for placement in universities.


Psychedelics for Mental Health Treatment

Many patients with major depressive disorder have improved their symptoms by taking psilocybin. Also, some patients with severe, chronic PTSD are benefitting from 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted therapy. Plus, patients with disordered eating and OCD are using psychedelics to help treat their issues.


The stigmatization of psychedelics has many people desiring an alternative treatment with similar results. However, the subjective experience, including shifts in perception and consciousness, is essential to therapeutic outcomes.


Therapists use the uncomfortable memories and emotions that patients experience during a psychedelic experience to guide them through. The goal is to improve the patient’s ability to be completely present as they learn not to be afraid of their inner experience.


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