Children and teens in need of mental health care can now receive it through video conferencing with licensed mental health professionals.
The Children’s Home Society has launched a telepsychiatry program for kids around the state whose insurance health plan covers telemedicine, health services provided remotely.
The program expanded to Tallahassee this spring. It offers counseling and psychiatry sessions for children and teens — over two-way video conferencing similar to Skype or FaceTime.
“The wait lists were just so long because there’s a real shortage of quality child and adolescent psychiatrists in the state of Florida,” said Christine Certain, CHS statewide director of program development and Florida State counseling and health services master’s alumna.
The shortage is especially pronounced in rural areas, Certain adds. Previously, counselors would sometimes have to drive an hour or more to see a child or adolescent client. That lost time could have been spent helping several clients back-to-back.
“I have seen the barriers that our clients experience and our patients experience firsthand,” said Certain, who’s a licensed mental health counselor and former direct case manager.
Previously, clients would also have to be wait-listed, sometimes for several months, because of the shortage of professionals in their area and long transportation times, Certain explains. That really hurt kids who needed help immediately.
Counseling and psychiatry over video would remedy those problems.
For kids whose native tongue isn’t English, the telepsychiatry program could help connect them with doctors and counselors who speak that language and aren’t necessarily in their geographic area.
Though CHS specializes in foster care and adoption, the service is available to kids all over the state.
Families can enroll their children or teens can enroll themselves at chsfl.org, or they can call the Tallahassee office at 850-921-0772.
Reach Nada Hassanein at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nhassanein_.
Originally posted by the Tallahassee Democrat