According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of American households have at least one internet-connected device and the average household has five, ranging from smart phones and tablets to laptop and desktop computers.

As technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and accessible, we are becoming an increasingly tech-savvy culture. This recent increase in the use of technology has also made mental health services more accessible and appealing to a wide range of consumers.

People in geographically remote areas are poised to benefit from a growing array of virtual mental health services. Research suggests that greater access to telehealth services in rural areas also correlates with a significant decrease in psychiatric hospital admissions.

In addition, the relative flexibility of virtual counseling accommodates consumers with busy or irregular schedules, allowing them to fit counseling into their lives when traditional office-based counseling would not be feasible.

Popular virtual counseling subscription services start as low as $40 per month and may include online chat and telephonic or video counseling sessions. Consumers can find specialized virtual counseling services for specific age groups or clinical issues. Many EAPs, including services provided by FEI, also offer the option to receive counseling over the phone or by video chat.

An increasing number of apps are also available for common mental health issues. Popular meditation apps like Headspace and Calm make it quick and easy to incorporate regular meditation practice into daily life and experience its benefits.

Clinicians are also beginning to incorporate technology to supplement their clinical work with clients. In addition to delivering a virtual counseling service, some clinicians use apps to help clients track thoughts, feelings and behaviors. These apps let clients stay actively engaged in their recovery between sessions and provide richer data for clinicians and clients to discuss.

Since this is an emerging area in mental health treatment, the research has yet to give us definitive conclusions on the relative efficacy of technologically-supported mental health services versus traditional office-based counseling. However, there’s one thing we do know: Easier access to mental health information, resources and services decreases the stigma and other barriers to engagement.