Thursday, Jan 12, 2023 | 12:00 AM ET

S3 Ep4: Democratizing Therapy with Telemental Health—featuring Dr. Varun Choudhary

We have come to understand the importance of mental wellness in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, many of us don’t have access to traditional therapy, or we’re hesitant to visit a psychiatrist’s office. And a growing number of people are looking to online therapy as an alternative.

But can you build strong relationship with a therapist virtually? What does quality mental health care look like in a digital landscape?

Dr. Varun Choudhary is a Board-Certified Forensic Psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer at Talkspace, a leading virtual behavioral health company that offers convenient and affordable access to a fully credentialed network of highly qualified mental health providers. 

Dr. Choudhary has 17 years of experience in behavioral health, providing care to patients in the public sector, correctional arena, private practice and community-based settings. He is a specialist in the realm of teletherapy, population health and collaborative care.

On this episode of HLTH Matters, Dr. Choudhary joins host Dr. Guatam Gulati to explain the concept of asynchronous text-based therapy and explore the benefits of building a relationship with a therapist online.

Dr. Choudhary discusses the root causes of the mental health crisis in our country, describing how rates of depression and anxiety skyrocketed during the pandemic and why telepsychiatry remains popular while other forms of telehealth are in decline.

Listen in for Dr. Choudhary’s insight on the future of telemental health care and learn how online therapy like Talkspace is democratizing mental wellness around the world.

Topics Covered

  • The significant shift in the way we think about mental health over the last 10 years
  • How the mental health reimbursement system is informed by the regulatory environment
  • How Talkspace pioneered the concept of asynchronous text-based therapy
  • The benefits of building a relationship with a therapist online (and when it’s more appropriate to meet face-to-face)
  • The potential for Talkspace to eventually add brick-and-mortar facilities to its comprehensive care model
  • What responsibility platforms like Talkspace bear in reporting potential criminal activity
  • How rates of depression and anxiety skyrocketed during the COVID crisis
  • Why telepsychiatry use did not drop off after the pandemic like other telehealth services
  • Dr. Choudhary’s insight on the root causes of the mental health crisis in our country
  • How Dr. Choudhary’s WHY aligns with the Talkspace mission to democratize therapy
  • The meditation practice Dr. Choudhary uses to preserve his own mental wellness

Connect with Dr. Varun Choudhary


Dr. Choudhary on LinkedIn

Connect with Dr. Guatam Gulati


Dr. Gulati on Twitter 

Dr. Gulati on LinkedIn 


‘A Study of Asynchronous Mobile-Enabled SMS Text Psychotherapy’ in Telemedicine and e-Health

Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health by Thomas Insel, MD

KFF/CNN Survey on Mental Health in America

Ryan Haight Act

Magellan Health

COVID-19 and Mental Health

Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World by Vivek H. Murthy, MD


Varun Choudhary MD, MA, DFAPAChief Medical Officer, Talkspace

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