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Virtual Group Therapy: Telemental Health

Make the most of virtual sessions with these tips

Veteran attending a virtual group therapy sessionThe COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do many things. The way we work, go shopping, even the way we talk with our health care team using streaming video from our homes. Mental health group therapy sessions give therapists a great tool to support your mental health. Video-based group meetings reduce your chances of being exposed to the coronavirus. Group therapy using telehealth sessions has replaced many in-person meetings.

Has your provider or therapist recommended an online telehealth appointment? Are you a little worried? Here are a few ways to help your virtual appointment go just as well as your in-person sessions:

  • Treat your virtual visit the same way you would an in-person visit.

  • Your group participation is voluntary.

  • Find a safe, quiet, and private space that’ll be free from other distractions. Explain this to those around you before you begin. Try to have lighting on the other side of the camera, facing you, not behind you. Facing a window can help.

  • Log in 10-15 minutes before your appointment begins.

  • Provide the facilitator with your sign-in location and phone number when asked. This will not be shared with the group. This information is collected for safety and emergency reasons.

  • Remember to respect the group privacy and confidentiality agreement.

  • Contact the clinic or talk to your therapist one to two days ahead of time if you have questions or cannot attend.

After you have successfully completed your telehealth group therapy session, you can view your therapist’s notes and instructions in My HealtheVet. If you have questions, follow up using Secure Messaging (sign in required).

The goal is to help you take charge of your treatment and live a full and meaningful life. Over 1.7 million Veterans received mental health services at VA last year. Services range from peer support with other Veterans to counseling, therapy, medication, or a combination of these options. Talk to your health care team about what opportunities you may have.

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