Distance therapy is on the rise, with one study suggesting that 20pc of psychotherapists now offer some form of online, email or telephone service. The new generation are especially receptive. Millennials, or digital natives as they are known, are generally the biggest users, while the therapists offering the service tend to be younger and more digitally savvy.
The instant messaging platform Talkspace, which connects people with licensed therapists, has over 100,000 users in the US and recently raised $9.5 million in funding. Elsewhere, 7 Cups of Tea, a free, anonymous community of ‘active listeners’ encouraged 17,000 people to volunteer their services in year one. Closer to home, MyMind, which employs 75 therapists and has locations in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, is one of the largest providers of affordable distant therapy services in Ireland.
Communications officer Carmen Bryce concurs that their largest demographic is young students. However, the service is also popular with clients who have mobility issues and “new mothers who can’t leave the house”.
“Accessibility is at the core of our mission,” says Bryce. “We believe mental health services should be in everyone’s reach so we couple our face-to-face counselling with the online option to extend the reach of our services.”