Children in rural counties across the country experience the same mental health issues as other children. Yet they don’t have the same access to mental health resources as children in urban and suburban counties do. In some cases, the nearest therapist can be hours away. This lack of support may change with the use of telehealth therapy.
What is Telehealth Therapy?
Telehealth therapy is typically performed through the use of video teleconferencing. However, it can also be performed through text messaging, email, or by telephone. Telehealth therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy and improves access to care for people who can't easily obtain it.
Children in Rural Counties
Children should be able to access the mental health treatment they need, and the use of telehealth therapy is making that easier. States such as North Dakota,where over 90% of counties lack sufficient mental health services, have instituted programs to increase access to telehealth technology. With the state's Telehealth Outreach Program, providers in larger cities can connect with children in areas where there are few or no available mental health supports. The service is currently available free of charge to children aged 7 to 18 who have experienced trauma. Families receive special "locked down" iPads to be used for therapy only.
In addition, telehealth therapy for children often involves the use of toys and other supplies such as journals and coloring supplies. Younger children often respond better to play therapy than traditional talk therapy. Families in the North Dakota program receive boxes containing these materials so they can be used during therapy.
North Dakota has found that more children participate in and complete therapy when they are given access to telehealth therapy. This is because parents are not forced to miss work or taking the time to drive hours away in order to attend sessions. The consistency and convenience of telehealth therapy make it more helpful and less stressful for children and their families.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.