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What to expect during a virtual mental health visit

GEHA | February 3, 2023

GEHA medical members have access to virtual mental health visits through MDLIVE.

Living through constant anxiety, stress, sadness or irritability could be a sign that you or a loved one are suffering from an undiagnosed mental health condition. Often, we experience highs and lows throughout our lives, but how do you know when it’s more than just a phase? When your mental health starts to interfere with your family, friends, work or hobbies, it may be time to speak to a professional.

Signs of a mental health condition include:

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Problems with alcohol or drug use
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Excessive anger, hostility or violence
  • Suicidal thinking

Recent studies show that over half (54.7%) of adults with a mental health condition do not receive treatment, totaling over 28 million people. If you or a loved one are experiencing the symptoms above, it’s important to know you aren’t alone. As a GEHA member, you have access to virtual mental health visits powered by MDLIVE.
How can a MDLIVE virtual mental health visit benefit you?

  • You can usually schedule a mental health visit within seven days or fewer for therapy and 14 days or fewer for psychiatry, which is about four times faster than in-person medical-related visits
  • GEHA medical plan members have access to unlimited $0 telehealth visits*
  • Because the visits are virtual, you will avoid travel time and other scheduling conflicts

What can you discuss with the physician? 

  • Anxiety, bipolar or depression
  • Stress management
  • Grief and loss
  • LBGTQ+ support
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Relationship issues
  • Panic disorders
  • Addictions/substance abuse
  • Parenting issues
  • Life changes

You can visit with a therapist and a psychiatrist; what’s the difference?

A therapy visit is a counseling session that is conducted by a psychologist, licensed professional counselor, social worker or other therapy professional. The first session lasts about one hour, and follow-up sessions last about 45 minutes to one hour, depending on individual need.

A psychiatry visit is primarily for medication initiation or refills of mental health medications. This visit is conducted by a psychiatrist, who is a medical doctor that can write prescriptions, when appropriate. The first session lasts about 30 minutes, and follow-up sessions last about 15 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on individual need.

Do you see the same provider for each visit?

Virtual visits for mental health are similar to in-person visits. You will see the same provider each time for therapy and the same provider each time for medication management. You will continue to see the same provider unless you request to try a new provider.

How do you schedule a visit?

The MDLIVE platform for initiating/scheduling visits is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year for both phone and video. Activate your MDLIVE account online or by calling 888.912.1183.


“Mental Illness.”, National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, January 2022.
“The State of Mental Health in America.”, Mental Health America.

*HDHP members who have not met their deductible will be charged 100% of the plan allowance. HDHP members who have met their deductible will be charged by MDLIVE, but GEHA will then reimburse 100% of the plan allowance.  

Disclaimer: This information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.

This is a brief description of the features of Government Employees Health Association, Inc.’s medical plans. Please read the GEHA Federal brochures which are available at All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the Federal brochures.