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Pediatricians & baby -U.S. Pediatricians Urge Lawmakers for Telehealth Funding

U.S. Pediatricians Urge Lawmakers for Telehealth Funding

It’s too early to tally the public health toll brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but pediatric medical professionals are noticing a new crisis that’s affecting children, adolescents, and teenagers. The increase of mental health symptoms and conditions in this group of young people—magnified by life-altering COVID-19 disruptions—has become too large for the medical profession to ignore.

In a letter declaring this new national emergency, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) expressed concerns over the state of healthcare and the hardships that children are enduring.

How to Build Proficiency in Your Tech-Averse Clients

Therapists are rapidly turning to telehealth as a flexible way to conduct their telemental health sessions, but sometimes the client’s strong aversion to technology is the first barrier that needs to be addressed. According to the Community Living Campaign, access, training, and equipment are the three pillars of technology literacy. Without them, clients may not have the digital literacy skills they need to engage fully in their telemental health session. In this article, you’ll find practical tips to close the tech gap between you and your client!

As a digital advocacy group, The National Digital Inclusion Alliance suggests that you first identify your client’s level of skillfulness with technology and what they’ll need to succeed. Once you’ve nailed down the barriers, you can assess your readiness to coach the client through the skill-acquisition process. This could involve navigating a ZOOM log-in screen, adjusting a client’s microphone, or configuring the client’s speaker.   

These are four easy-to-remember questions that can keep you on track when developing a client-centered technology plan:

Resilience and Telehealth Saved This Practice When COVID-19 Hit

Dr. Martina Moore already knew quite a bit about being resilient before COVID-19 hit in early 2020. Her practice, along with thousands of other behavioral health organizations, therapists, and professional associations all had to quickly pivot to telehealth. 

This fast switch meant having a special quality that therapists often talk about with their clients - resiliency. This was a quality that Dr. Moore came by the hard way. Her father was an alcoholic. And he had a behavioral health problem.

“I grew up with a father that was an alcoholic, Dr. Moore told Raymond Barrett, CEO, and founder of the Telehealth Certification Institute (TCI). “He got sober when I was in high school - in my senior year. I walked that journey with him - of recovery. My father had what we call co-occurring disorders. He had behavioral health and substance use disorders. I saw him navigate through the process of recovery with not as many options as we have now. By the grace of God, he's still sober some 30 years later.”

Support for Treating Substance-Use Disorders

Kathryn Cates-Wessel, the Chief Executive Officer at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), joins Ray Barrett in a conversation about how AAAP is supporting health professionals who treat clients suffering from substance-use disorders in primary care and psychiatric settings. She offers tips for finding resources, explains why specialist knowledge is imperative for providers, and what service gaps are preventing effective treatment. 

Kathryn shares 30 years of experience in the substance-used field with roles in administration, medical education, and policy. Prior to working with AAAP, Kathryn was the Associate Director for Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, as well as the Executive Director of Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy. 

Cultural Competence for Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health Services

Dr. DJ Ida, the Executive Director for the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA), agreed to talk with us at the Telehealth Certification Institute about the importance of cultural competence in the mental health field. Part of Dr. Ida’s long-term vision for NAAPIMHA is to establish a national center for cultural competence where clinicians, medical professionals, students, and paraprofessionals can come together for training and supervision.

Dr. Ida envisions that the center would move beyond talk therapy and consider additional community-based interventions, since the traditional therapy model “is not the only way to heal.” At NAAPIMHA, Asian American and Pacific Islander paraprofessionals are recognized for the distinct value they can bring to their communities, even if they lack the clinical skills one might learn in the classroom. 

Mental Health Professionals Turn to Professional Organizations for Support and Telehealth Training During COVID-19

When COVID-19 hit, people worldwide faced isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression as quarantines and lockdowns were implemented. Mental health professionals were on the front lines of helping people cope with the pandemic, but clinicians faced their own struggles. Most closed their offices and shifted their practices to telehealth. They had to quickly learn new skills and ethics. They found themselves isolated - no longer seeing clients in person, or interacting with colleagues between sessions. 

Many clinicians turned to their professional organizations for guidance, including the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA). AMHCA President Dr. Beverly Smith said it was hard for some clinicians to make that shift to telehealth.

Providing Cognitive Enhancement Therapy to Clients with Telehealth

Providing Cognitive Enhancement Therapy to Clients with Telehealth

Cognitive enhancement therapy (CET) is an evidence-based practice that uses brain games to target specific cognitive domains, such as attention, memory, and executive functioning. This intervention is particularly valuable for clients who have early course schizophrenia, schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, or neurocognitive conditions. CET’s effectiveness may be most evident when helping clients with social cognition—being able to get the gist of what someone says, understanding emotional cues, or employing flexible thinking, among other skills.

In a phone interview with the Telehealth Certification Institute, Christa Crohurst​​—a Licensed Professional Counselor in Arizona—describes her experience of using CET with clients. Christa explains why CET is an option for telehealth and what practitioners should watch out for before they begin offering sessions. Although Christa says that many of her clients have made huge strides with CET, there are a few challenges that practitioners can expect to encounter.

The Role of School Counselors

Jill Cook, the Executive Director of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), spoke with Raymond Barrett, the CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute, about the professional role of school counselors. In addition to being the Executive Director of ASCA, Cook is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and a former chair and member of multiple national organizations. Cook assisted in the development of the School Counselor of the Year program and the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) at ASCA.

According to Cook, there are over 120,000 counselors in K-12 schools who assist students with academic development, social-emotional development, and all types of post-secondary professional and educational goals.

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