Amid the United States’ growing rates of anxiety and depression, an opioid epidemic, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for accessible mental healthcare continues to rise. While virtual care may seem like a simple solution to this access problem, resource, regulatory, and financial barriers can prevent those who most need care from connecting with mental health professionals. Via interviews with mental healthcare providers, public health experts, and patients, this project looks into the potential and limitations of telemental health when it comes to solving the United States’ mental healthcare crisis.
Nafisa Syed grew up in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, where she read almost everything she could get her hands on. She had her first experiences with journalism and with the real-world scientific process in high school, producing a radio documentary with her local NPR station and helping excavate human bone in a bioarcheology lab. She graduated from MIT in 2019 with a double-major in Biology and Brain and Cognitive Sciences. While a college student, she became the first editor of The Tech’s Science section, worked in a neurolinguistics lab studying how the brain produces and interprets language, and spent a semester interning at NOVA Next. As an aspiring physician and writer, Nafisa hopes to use her year in the graduate program to become well-versed in writing about public health and medicine so that she can effectively use her communication skills and future medical expertise to serve the public.