Expanded access to telehealth has resulted in increased health care access, lower costs, better outcomes, and more choice for patients.
Read what patients are saying about the critical value of telehealth and the urgent need for Congress to act to protect access to virtual care.
I started working with my therapist during the height of the pandemic and have yet to meet her in person. I have a great therapeutic relationship with her, but due to my busy schedule, it is so much easier for me to meet with her via Zoom rather than going into an office. She can hold me accountable in all the same ways for my recovery, and I have yet to run into an issue. In fact, in some ways, it has been even better being online, as we use different online tools to stay connected during the week.
New Jersey Resident, Female, 24
Telehealth has been fundamental for my eating disorder recovery. From the start of the pandemic, I have been meeting with my dietician and therapist via telehealth, even attending virtual therapy groups with individuals with experiences like myself. Telehealth has provided me with the support I needed for my recovery during the pandemic and has been essential to treatment access ever since.
Illinois Resident, Female, 45
Telehealth helped me with self-accountability. There’s only so much that can be monitored while on telehealth, especially with a Partial Hospitalization Program. It also helped me with a real-life environment where I was not just in the hospital setting but sitting in the room where I will be during family dinners or other meals.
Illinois Resident, Female
Telehealth sessions with my therapist have been very helpful through the pandemic, and provide an additional option for us to connect going forwards.
Rhode Island Resident, Female, 45
Telehealth is the best use of technological innovation! It provides access to more convenient, comfortable, timely, confidential, and affordable care!
Florida Resident, Female, 31
I have been doing telehealth since 2020 including PHP, IOP, meal support, outpatient therapy and nutritional therapy. It has been so helpful not only with the pandemic but with maintaining my care and recovery while working a job and going to graduate school.
New York Resident, Female, 23
I used telehealth between the period of fall 2020 to fall 2022. I have seen multiple specialists such as group therapy, nutritionists, psychologists, and intensive outpatient programs during the pandemic. Without this option, I am afraid I would not be here to tell the story. I suffer from two eating disorders, GAD, and depression, but telehealth has given me a way to not feel so alone and reach the help I need. Telehealth saves lives.
New York Resident, Female, 16
Telehealth had been instrumental in my continuing care with my dietician, therapist, and primary care physician. I moved from the area where they are located and was able to continue seeing them – this helped with stability, lowered my stress (by not needing to seek out new providers), and allowed me to continue the work I had been doing with these phenomenal providers. Telehealth in general has been extremely beneficial for me as a person struggling with chronic illnesses, and it’s easier to attend appointments virtually as a graduate student with a hectic schedule!
Massachusetts Resident, Female, 31
I did telehealth when my therapist lived in another state. It was beneficial that I could meet with her and with a dietician online. I found it to be just as effective.
Minnesota Resident, Female, 23
My recovery journey started during COVID. The nearest dietitian that was certified in eating disorders lived 2 hours away from me. I lived in a smaller rural community in Oklahoma and there was no support for me within driving distance. My dietitian and I met every single session on zoom. We worked together weekly for four months and then every other week for 4 more months. If it were not having access to telehealth 8 would not be where I am today. I can say I’m healthier, happier and a better father and husband because of the virtual care I received.
Kansas Resident, Male, 32
When the pandemic hit, I started seeing my provider through telehealth. It was a tremendous help to be able to continue to see my therapist throughout this tumultuous and unpredictable time. I felt comfort and confidence in knowing that despite the concerning state of the world, I was still able to rely on that one constant that allowed me to work through everything that was going on around me.
Georgia Resident, Female, 37
To say that I benefited from telemental health care services during the pandemic would be an understatement. I would characterize it as more of a lifeline. At the beginning of the quarantine, my daughter had just been released from a hospital stay for her eating disorder. She had just completed inpatient, PHP, and IOP programs and was intending to transition back to her Junior year of High School. That, along with many other things, didn’t happen. She has her own story to tell about how she navigated several telemental health care relationships during this time, so I’ll keep the focus on mine. After my daughter was released from the hospital, I was lost. I was under the impression that she would now be recovered, and life would become more hopeful or at least more manageable. I learned quickly that returning to life is returning to all of life’s realities, including stress, anxiety, and food. After relaying my story and state of mind to a close friend, she suggested I look for an Al-Anon-type group. AL-Anon had played an important role in her life and she told me it is where I will find my people. It never occurred to me up to that point that there would be support groups for family members of people struggling with eating disorders, so I got online and began my search. There was nothing located in my area, but I did manage to find the National Alliance for Eating Disorders which had just moved their in-person support groups online per Covid protocols. At first blush, support groups can be overwhelming and a bit scary. There are a lot of painful stories and people who are desperate for answers. It’s an acquired taste, but if you give it time and patience you begin to take comfort in the gathering. Stories are hard and challenges remain, but the support and understanding you get back are the reason you keep going. Later, you begin to contribute to the conversation and find that you can be supportive and understanding in the middle of your own struggle. The Friends & Family Support group the Alliance hosted became my lifeline and is still one I am glad is available to me and others remotely. I don’t think they will ever be able to get rid of them at this point…my people would have something to say about that!
Illinois Resident, Female
Telehealth is the reason that I am still alive. Being able to see my healthcare providers via telehealth, whether that was my therapist, dietitian, or medical doctor, is the only reason that I was able to continue my recovery through quarantine and COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, many people experienced a relapse or worsening of their eating disorder (including myself). Without access to my providers through telehealth, I am not sure what would have been the outcome. I am extremely grateful for all the providers who have helped me along the way. Having access to telehealth is a privilege in today’s society and it should be treated as a basic human right for every person.
Telehealth has been amazing – I would not be able to get the help I need without it. My provider (therapist) is out of state, and we can connect whenever we need to face to face unlike ever before. It has truly helped me remain working on my mental health and kept me alive, especially since COVID and the pandemic.
California Resident, Female
After over a decade plus battling eating disorders and disordered relationships with my body, I found the most impactful online support group that has changed my life beyond words. In 2022 I found Flourish, an online therapy support made up of dieticians and counselors who were able to help me first acknowledge my unhealthy behaviors and more importantly, aided me in realizing just how detrimental these were to my psychological health, therefore spilling over into the rest of my life. Because of this online support group, where I was able to work with “coaches” from around the US, I can truly and proudly share what a different person I am today. Because of this online group, I have more confidence and so, so much freed mental space to pursue and prioritize the things that truly matter to me in life, rather than being consumed around food, body, and exercise thoughts. Had this online option not been available, I wouldn’t have been able to work with any of these amazing women who changed my life.
Indiana Resident, Female, 26
Asking for help has never been easy, and I was fortunate enough to have parents that encouraged me to recover from my eating disorder. As a highschooler, I hated the idea of leaving my home, my family, my friends, and everything that was known to me to a residential facility. Thankfully, I was able to take advantage of therapy and treatment online, and I’ve had truly life-changing experiences in both group and individual therapy/treatment. One main challenge that I’ve faced and realized throughout my eating disorder is a feeling of isolation and guilt or shame about having this disorder in the first place. The fear of how others perceived me had driven my eating disorder even from the very beginning. However, group treatment gave me a new perspective and a new family that was filled with support and similar experiences – it was then that I realized I wasn’t in this alone and that my feelings and everything I was going through was valid. Not only did these people give me a sense of belonging, but they also helped me achieve my goals of recovery much quicker and much more tolerable because they brought me joy through an extremely difficult part of my life. However, recovery is not something that happens quickly, and constant perseverance and therapy/treatment is needed to support this recovery. Telemental health care has helped me an enormous amount as a high schooler struggling already to balance my schedule. Being able to meet with my dietician and therapist after school online is not only much more convenient but also critical to guide me along this continuing journey of mine, supporting me the entire way. Recovery hasn’t been an easy journey and still isn’t, but I’m so thankful for all the people that I’ve met throughout my treatment journey; even though all these connections were made online, they have been the most impactful and memorable bonds that I’ll ever experience.
New York Resident, Female, 16
At a very young age I felt uncomfortable in my body. I developed a strange and disorder version of eating. Sometimes I would starve myself for days and on the others I would purge the food I put into my body. I looked very ill and had to give up a lot of things to heal. I had to give up dancing which is one of my passions so I could mend the damages I put upon myself. With therapy and help from others I overcame the challenge at hand. Eating disorders are a difficult thing to fight. In the end, I know that we all can overcome any battle that comes in our path. My past does not define who I am now. I have never felt better!
Arizona Resident, Female, 15
Asking for help has never been easy, and I was fortunate enough to have parents that encouraged me to recover from my eating disorder. As a highschooler, I definitely hated the idea of leaving my home, my family, my friends, and everything that was known to me to a residential facility. Thankfully, I was able to take advantage of therapy and treatment online, and I’ve had truly lifechanging experiences in both group and individual therapy/treatment. Telemental health care has helped me an enormous amount as a highschooler struggling already to balance my schedule. Being able to meet with my dietician and therapist afterschool online is not only much more convenient but also critical to guide me along this continuing journey of mine, supporting me the entire way. Recovery hasn’t been an easy journey and still isn’t, but I’m so thankful for all the people that I’ve met throughout my treatment journey; even though all of these connections were made online, they have been the most impactful and memorable bonds that I’ll ever experience.
New York Resident, Female, 16
Telehealth has provided me with the opportunity to receive mental and physical assistance in regard to surviving with an eating disorder and has allowed me to advocate for those all keen to what I went through!
Maryland Resident, Female, 17
After thirty five years I finally found a therapist who is helping me manage my eating disorder. She lives an hour away and I would not have found her or been able to connect with her if not for telehealth.
Arkansas Resident, Female, 48
Virtual support groups saved my life. I was on the verge of giving up, and then found a community. For the first time, I didn’t feel alone. These were people (mostly women) who wanted to change their lives. They shared about their weeks, their triumphs, and we worked together to celebrate the triumphs and ease the struggle. The support from the facilitators was amazing. Without the community, I would have lost all hope and motivation and given up trying to get to the appropriate level of care I need. The fact that it was telehealth and people of all experience was really helpful in navigating different facilities and options.
New York Resident, Female, 36
Through telemental health care, I benefited from connecting with my first eating disorder treatment provider when I relapsed as an adult. She lives much further than I could travel regularly, but the ability to see someone with whom I have a strong sense of rapport and trust helped me to seek treatment when I needed it. This practitioner has been my lifeline through so much, including a pandemic shutdown. Our work together would not be possible without telemental health care.
Illinois Resident, Female, 31