In a region with a severe shortage of behavioral health specialists — only one mental health provider for every 6,000 individuals — and a staggering one psychiatrist for every 20,000 individuals — there is a significant need to increase access to behavioral health services in our region. Teletherapy helps to fill that void. Teletherapy utilizes videoconferencing communication technology to allow patients to receive mental health treatment services without seeing a therapist in-person. Telehealth technology will eliminate the difficulties many rural community members face when trying to access behavioral health services.
In addition to the school-based services that we have offered since the spring of 2017, TCHNetwork launched teletherapy services for adults in Ouray Public Health Department this spring, with a room dedicated to providing the service. San Miguel Resource Center has also begun implementing teletherapy services for their clients, with two clients receiving Spanish speaking teletherapy services. This fall, we plan to offer teletherapy in the Ridgway, Telluride, Delta, West End and Norwood school districts.
Thanks to our Next50 Grant, giving us the opportunity to extend teletherapy to adults over 50 years of age in San Miguel County, we are currently accepting clients at Ouray Public Health Department and SMRC. Moving forward, we will be expanding services to the new Lone Cone Library and the Wilkinson Public Library starting in September. Mental health matters, thanks for your support team!
–Julia Johnston, School Based Program Coordinator