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Is this the end of in-person counseling? How COVID-19 has accelerated our embrace of teletherapy

In the social distancing era, apps are making therapists available at home—affordably and on demand.

Is this the end of in-person counseling? How COVID-19 has accelerated our embrace of teletherapy
[Illustration: Jacek Janiczak]

Just a few years ago, teletherapy—the practice of doing therapy via phone, video, or text—was regarded as an unproven mental health treatment. But strong consumer demand for all forms of telemedicine (estimated to surpass $130 billion by 2025) has led to a quadrupling of venture funding in the space in the past five years. The popularity of these apps skyrocketed during the COVID-­­19 shutdown, as in-person visits ceased and mental health declined nationally. Remote therapy is now offered by traditional healthcare networks, stand-alone apps, and as part of employee assistance programs.

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[Sources: Global Market Insights’ Telemedicine Market report (telemedicine market estimate); Pitchbook (Industry growth, Valuations); MDLive (App usage); “Using Science to Sell Apps,”by Larsen, et al., Harvard Medical School (Validity); Zencare, Talkspace, and BetterHelp (Costs); Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Bureau of Health Workforce (Filling the gap)]
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About the author

Ruth Reader is a writer for Fast Company. She covers the intersection of health and technology.

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