Mental Health & Online Therapy in South Africa - What to Know

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In a world where our mental well-being is as essential as our physical health, understanding the mental health services on offer and the role of online therapy becomes critical.

We spoke to Kgomotso Sebeela, a resident mental health professional. We asked her popular questions to share insights and information about online mental health support in South Africa.

So, join us as we cover vital information about mental health and online therapy in South Africa. 

Meet Kgomotso

Kgomotso is a Specialist wellness counsellor who helps South Africans daily as a mental health professional at Kena Health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from UNISA and is a certified wellness, addiction, and trauma counsellor. 

Her passion lies in providing healing and hope to individuals navigating challenging and traumatic experiences. She is an active member of the Board of Addiction Professionals in South Africa (BAPSA).

Read on to discover more about mental health and online therapy.

How much does online therapy cost in South Africa?

“Typically, if it's a counsellor treating you, they charge anything from R450 to R600. If you have to see a psychologist, it would start from R800 to R1,600. 

“Fortunately, you can consult with registered therapists on the Kena Health app for only R185 per consultation.”

What is the best option for online therapy?

“When exploring online therapy options, it is important to find a registered mental health professional on a platform that allows for private and secure conversations. Look for trusted platforms with sound patient reviews or a mental health professional who has been referred from a reputable source.

When seeking online therapy, as with face-to-face therapy, some patients find it beneficial to use a therapist from a similar gender, age group, language or cultural background, helping to establish rapport and comfort at the onset of therapy. 

You must also consider your budget and time constraints as costs and times can vary across therapists.” 

Is online mental health therapy effective?

“Yes, it is effective. Many counselling tools and techniques can be successfully used online. During the COVID pandemic, many people faced mental health strain and were unable to attend face-to-face therapy, ushering in a new era of online mental health therapy. In rare cases, a physical consultation is needed. Particularly for severe mental health conditions, physical patient observations are required. 

We find that Kena Health mental health patients particularly enjoy the relative anonymity and being able to consult from the comfort of their own space.’’

Is online therapy good for anxiety and depression?

“Yes, it can be. Online anxiety or depression uses proven counselling techniques that are the same as face-to-face counselling. We find that apps such as Kena Health make it particularly convenient to consult in real-time at the onset of anxiety or depression triggers. Helping patients to access help when they need it most.”

Does medical aid cover online therapy?

“Online therapy can be claimed from medical aid if the mental health professional is registered with medical aid schemes. Reimbursement is dependent on your chosen medical aid plan and scheme rules. To be sure you understand what is covered, it is best to contact your medical aid provider.” 

How long is an online therapy session in South Africa?

“The length of therapy sessions varies according to the patient's needs and the mental health professionals' scheduling requirements. Online therapy sessions can range between 20 minutes to an hour.’’

Can I use WhatsApp for counselling?

Tools such as WhatsApp can help in making counselling more accessible to people. When choosing a WhatsApp-based counselling service, it is important to ensure that you are consulting with a registered professional and that the platform is private and secure. 

What are the advantages of online therapy?

“Most people enjoy that they can do online therapy from a space that they feel comfortable, allowing them to be more relaxed and express themselves more openly. Patients also benefit from less travel time and distractions on their way to therapy sessions, allowing them to save time. 

 How many times a week should I have therapy?

“The frequency of therapy sessions depends on the severity of the mental health issue the patient is presenting with. Here, it’s best to seek guidance from your therapist on a treatment plan that meets your mental health needs, availability and budget. What’s most important is that both parties are committed to the process and the journey of counselling.’’

Thanks, Kgomotso!

We had an enlightening time chatting with Kgomotso, and we look forward to talking to her again soon.

Online therapy emerges as a valuable resource, offering accessibility, flexibility, and support in South Africa. 

It's crucial to recognise the evolving dynamics of mental health services in the digital era and to understand the role of online therapy in assisting those in need.

By staying informed about the available options and understanding the potential benefits of online therapy, individuals can empower themselves to prioritise and improve their mental health. Remember, seeking support is a strength, and with the wealth of online resources, the journey towards mental well-being is more accessible than ever in South Africa.

Try the Kena Health Mental Health App Now

Get the Kena Health mental health app now. Explore the Kena Health mental health app today for an affordable and convenient way to connect with certified professionals offering online therapy and counselling in various official languages. Download our app and embark on your journey toward mental well-being.

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