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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Virginia Provides First Statewide Digital Free Psychological Well being Clinic


After finishing a pilot part that launched in December 2022, the nonprofit Virginia Telemental Well being Initiative (VTMHI), which presents free telemental well being companies to eligible uninsured or underinsured Virginians, has develop into the Commonwealth’s first-ever statewide digital free psychological well being clinic.

As a digital clinic, VTMHI collaborates with volunteer pre-licensed psychological well being suppliers within the means of finishing licensure to supply teletherapy companies to eligible sufferers who’re referred by taking part free and charitable clinics. The VTMHI mannequin each expands entry to psychological well being companies and strengthens Virginia’s psychological well being workforce. 

“We’re so grateful to our companions and volunteers who took half in this system’s profitable inaugural yr of service. They helped to construct an modern construction that’s placing psychological well being companies throughout the attain of Virginians who in any other case couldn’t afford or entry it,” mentioned Mara Servaites, govt director of VTMHI, in an announcement. “It’s the primary mannequin we all know of within the U.S. with a twin mission of offering free psychological well being companies to medically underserved populations nearly whereas additionally supporting the subsequent technology of psychological well being suppliers with the licensure course of to allow them to enter the workforce quicker. We realized throughout our first yr that this new idea works, and we’re now poised for progress by bringing on extra referring clinics to serve extra Virginians.”

Since its inception, VTMHI has scheduled almost 2,000 telemental well being periods with a mean of 11 days between referral and a affected person’s first appointment – a dramatic enchancment in comparison with the common wait time of three months or longer, in keeping with the American Psychological Affiliation’s 2023 Practitioner Pulse Survey.

In the course of the inaugural yr, 43 volunteer pre-licensed psychological well being professionals, supported by six medical supervisors, supplied professional bono companies to sufferers throughout 10 taking part free and charitable clinics.

This yr, VTMHI has welcomed 12 new referring clinics.

In 2024, VTMHI will invite 30 new Virginia clinics to hitch this system and can collaborate with an extra 75 volunteer psychological well being professionals. 

“Because the launch of VTMHI, we’ve got been capable of provide an preliminary counseling go to to sufferers inside 24 hours most often. This has been immensely useful for sufferers who’ve not too long ago been discharged from inpatient psychiatric care or have a extra pressing want,” mentioned Shannon Raybuck, psychological well being care coordinator at Fauquier Free Clinic, in an announcement. “This partnership permits these sufferers to interact rapidly in companies to handle issues reminiscent of substance use and anger administration.”

Underneath the management of the Virginia Telehealth Community, this system is made potential because of the collaboration of the Virginia Division of Behavioral Well being and Developmental Providers, the Virginia Affiliation of Free and Charitable Clinics, the College of Virginia Karen S. Rheuban Middle for Telehealth, the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Useful resource Middle, and VTMHI’s volunteers and free clinic members. 

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