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George Abu Mansaray, a social worker with Ruth's Hope Kindergarten, talks with Ray Barrett about the professional impact he’s making in Sierra Leone. As a small, non-Western country of about 7 million people, George says that a sustainable approach to social work in Sierra Leone should include an “indigenous model” that co-creates community development projects using “local knowledge.” After getting experience working abroad, George returned to Sierra Leone to help communities that were lacking life-sustaining resources, such as schools, health clinics, and safe drinking water.

In this video interview, Dr. Malcolm Horn talks about using telehealth as a treatment format for substance-use clients. In terms of evidence-based care, Dr. Horn shares how group therapy is often a more effective format than individual therapy for treating substance-use disorders. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic made the online treatment model an even greater necessity for practitioners. During the video, Dr. Horn outlines what steps and strategies you can take to make the most of your online therapy group.

In online group therapy for substance-use disorders, engagement can be one of the most significant challenges for facilitators. According to Dr. Horn, “one of the first things…is making sure you have good technology.” For Dr. Horn, investing in high-quality cameras and microphones has been essential.  Also, by “frontloading [patients] with the expectation [that they will be] engaged,” and emphasizing group participation, sets the tone for group interaction.

Telehealth Certification Institute was privileged to work with the Psychotherapy & Spirituality Institute (PSI) of New York City, training their therapists and affiliates to advance their telemental health practice.

Following the three-webinar series, PSI Executive Director, Sarah McCaslin, kindly shared the core reasons her team of therapists decided to increase their telehealth proficiency after two years of providing virtual services to their clients. Sarah also detailed what led them to TCI in particular as well as how their team plans to implement what they learned to strengthen their policies, processes, and practice of telehealth. 

We wish the very best to the amazing team at PSI and we remain a resource for anything that can support the great work they do.

Dr. Sheri Pickover, a Central Michigan University (CMU) Counseling Department faculty member, talks with the Telehealth Certification Institute about how she implemented a telemental health training component for her counseling practicum students. Since CMU is in a sparsely populated part of Michigan, access to mental health services has been a long-time concern for residents. Dr. Pickover notes how valuable telemental health training has been to transition students to an online mode of counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

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:

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.”

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. 

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. 

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.

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