The global coronavirus pandemic has affected each country differently, but everywhere the recommendation is the same: maintaining social distance and isolation is the only method that has so far been shown to be effective in delaying contagion and preventing the collapse of the health system.
Pharmacies and public and private medical centers are reacting in various ways to reduce face-to-face interaction with the patient, innovating in instances such as controls, consultations, or medication delivery. In this context, telemedicine is considered as the best option to receive mental health care.
In order to be effective, any form of mental health treatment requires adherence of at least six months, since we are talking about a process that must be constantly monitored by the specialist, especially if the treatment includes the use of psychotropic drugs . Telepsychiatry and telepsychology facilitate this monitoring, which the specialist can perform remotely throughout the entire process.
Regarding psychotropic drugs, the issuance of digital prescriptions is a fundamental part of the practice of telemedicine. This is something that the specialist can do with a simple process in which he or she signs the prescription and delivers it by regular mail or in the form of email, whereas the email can be printed, scanned, or presented in the patient’s cell phone at the pharmacy in order to obtain the prescription required.
Although the effects of the use of psychotropic drugs can be perceived from the first month, continuing treatment as prescribed for a longer time – between six to eight months at least – generates additional protection for up to one year after the end of treatment, which helps prevent or contain the relapses or mental health crises that the patient may experience during that period, providing the additional protection and stability that a person may need at the end of their psychiatric treatment.
In the case of psychotherapy, remote mental health care has proven to be successful even over periods of more than a year, and more and more patients choose to continue the process they develop with their therapist, but in a remote format, which facilitates the coordination of the meetings, especially in times when we must necessarily limit our movement.
In these days of quarantine we have seen how many couples who had communication problems, now that they are trapped together at home, seek and find common grounds and forms of organization that promote the transformation of the dynamics in the relationship, both at the couple level and in the family. In times of crisis and uncertainty, we newly appreciate the real value that our loved ones have for us, and thus reconciliation with them is effectively promoted.
In this type of situation, we realize who the most important people and things are, and we have been moved by spontaneous expressions of solidarity between unknown people. There is no herd immunity to the coronavirus, and perhaps this is why many people are bent on “caring for the herd.” Humanity comes together and says, “we can solve this if we remain united”, and from there arises the feeling of being connected to a larger community, a global village. The most important lesson we would have acquired after this quarantine is that, both on an evolutionary scale and between people, when we are threatened, cooperation – love, if you will – is more successful than resentment.