Meeting patients where they’re at with virtual mental health and addiction counseling

[Allina Health Newsroom, September 22, 2023] For Tyler, 29, Allina Health’s virtual mental health and addiction counseling made him feel more comfortable and secure by allowing him to receive care from his own environment. When he sought care in May 2022, Tyler started his journey via convenient, all-virtual appointments. 

Virtual addiction therapy through Allina Health removes geographic barriers and offers quick access - typically within 24-48 hours - to three important services: medication-assisted treatment, therapy and peer support. Other mental health and addiction therapy services can be delayed, depending on patient and provider locations, and scheduling availability.


Personalized expert care


Tyler started out meeting with his provider, Beau Elkington, LICSW, LADC, a licensed therapist specializing in addiction medicine, through secure video chat on his phone three days a week. “Beau really helps me see things in a different light; the things I was struggling with that were making me want to drink,” Tyler explained.


“Beau was really flexible, in terms of if I wanted to taper down on meetings and just do it as needed,” said Tyler. Virtual mental health and addiction counseling gives patients flexible scheduling options to create a recovery plan for their unique needs, whether one-on-one with a provider, group therapy or peer support. “Doing groups is really hard for me, so meeting with Beau one-on-one to do my addiction counseling was really helpful and he worked with me a lot on everything,” he reflected. “It’s been the foundation for a lot of things.”


Making progress through personal connections


Compassionate providers like Beau see the value in what’s most important to their patients. It’s been more than a year since Beau and Tyler began meeting and they have gotten to know each other well. “We are able to joke and laugh while simultaneously working toward his goals,” said Beau. Music is one of Tyler’s passions, which Beau encourages because meaningful activities are an important part of recovery. Tyler confirmed, “I like to make music, that’s really what I’ve been doing a lot of lately. I play guitar and I sing a little bit. I like all kinds of music. I record rap and singing, but I mix genres” explained Tyler. “Passions such as music are central to a sustainable and rewarding recovery,” explained Beau. “Tyler has shared that music helps him manage mental health symptoms such as anxiety and has helped get him through depressive states and urges to drink. There is also a social aspect where he can collaborate with other musicians.”


Taking the next step


Anyone looking for mental health or addiction counseling should find the right program for their unique situation, something that’s flexible with what they need and something that meets them where they’re at, whether that’s virtual or in person, recommended Tyler.


When it comes to those seeking first time mental health or addiction counseling, Tyler offered supportive advice: “The providers are going to help you get to where you need to be, versus ‘you have to figure it all out this second.’ It takes more than one time sometimes for it to stick, and that’s okay.” Tyler assured, “Everyone’s story is different and there’s no shame. You’ve got to work with the people that understand where you’re coming from. Surround yourself with people like that.”


therapy photo
Tyler and Beau meet virtually to work on goals and strategies that are personalized to Tyler’s life. Virtual mental health and addiction therapy makes it easier for patients to connect with a therapist from their own environment.
Posted on September 22, 2023 in

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