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How to Increase Diversity and Equity in Mental Health? Be Curious. Be Brave.
People of color need counseling. And they want it. But there are barriers, including barriers unwittingly put up by counselors.
“Communities of color are not always aware of the benefits of counseling,” said Dr. Kim Lee Hughes, President of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD). AMCD’s mission includes recognizing diversity in our society and enhancing the development, human rights, and the psychological health of ethnic/racial populations and all people.
Hughes adds that in some communities of color, individuals may not be aware of how to find a counselor or how to use their insurance.
Maybe you tried telehealth for your counseling practice during the COVID-19 shutdown, and you’ve decided you would like to stick with it. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to go all-in on telehealth but weren’t sure you could get enough clients to sustain your business.
The good news is that many counselors are successfully carrying a full caseload of telehealth clients.
How do they do it? And how long does it take to get a full caseload if you only see clients via telehealth?
The counseling profession has struggled with barriers to delivering mental health services to clients across state lines since the conception of licensure law. Most states require counselors to be licensed in the state where the client resides. This means clients have to find a new counselor if they move out of state. It also limits telehealth options for many clients.
To address this dilemma the American Counseling Association (ACA) – in collaboration with the National Center for Interstate Compacts (NCIC) – has been working on an interstate licensure compact. This compact would create licensure portability for professional counselors – creating a way for counselors to practice in multiple states.
To explore what the interstate compact would mean for counselors, Raymond Barrett, CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute (TCI), interviewed Dr. Lynn Linde, chief knowledge and learning officer at ACA.
Four mental health experts recommend ways to manage compassion fatigue and burnout for behavioral health professionals.
For our December installment of the Behavioral Health Toolbox Series, we covered a topic that is near-and-dear to many of us as we transition into 2021: compassion fatigue and burnout among healthcare professionals. The Telehealth Certification Institute Toolbox Series delivers live virtual webinars on telehealth topics facilitated by experts in the behavioral health field. Our webinars are practical, immersible, and driven by your interests.
Four panelists contributed to the December discussion. Sarah Dooling, a registered play therapist and instructor in San Diego State University’s MSW program, took an inventive approach to coping with pre-COVID triggers and current stressors. Sara advised practitioners to create a Resilience Kit with tools that will keep you well. Sara’s suggestion highlighted one of the webinar’s primary goals—optimizing creativity while creating new self-care routines. As Sara described for viewers, using transitional objects, such as a piece of paper with the names of your personal support squad, can act as a visual indicator.
Providing mental health using telehealth requires all clinicians to take extra steps to make sure their clients are safe during sessions, and that they are in a private location where no one can listen in.
But providing telehealth services gets even trickier when you are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and your clients are young sexual abuse survivors. Some may even be living with their abusers.
Patsy Fuller is a counselor in Louisiana with more than 10 years of experience. She’s worked with clients coping with severe mental illnesses, addiction, and childhood sexual trauma. She’s currently with Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response, or S.T.A.R, an agency that supports survivors of sexual trauma.
Fuller was working with addicted clients at a psychiatric hospital when she discovered that many of her clients also had a very different issue.
Patrick Hendry is a pioneer in the peer mentoring field who has spent three decades promoting the benefits of peer support in the behavioral health workforce. He has witnessed the problematic medical model that too often demoralizes or dismisses the needs of mentally ill individuals. Peer support workers develop meaningful rapport with their peers by telling them, I’ve been there too!
As the Vice President of Peer Advocacy Supports and Services for Mental Health America, Patrick has used his own lived experience with a mental illness to help others who are starting or continuing their recovery journeys. Patrick delivers training and national advocacy projects for peer specialists and professionals with a focus on human rights, social inclusion, peer support, peer services, and self-directed care.
Sheela Ivlev is an Licensed Occupational Therapist who understands the relationship between emotional and physical pain. After completing her practical training in the psychiatric field, Sheela saw how unresolved emotional stress wears down the physical body. Now through her practice, Sheela offers occupational therapy for adults with disabilities, mental illnesses, clients with pain disorders, and individuals on the autism spectrum.
Occupational therapists are trained to assess both the emotional and physical health of their clients, but not all professionals maintain this integrated perspective. Sheela’s main goal is to help her clients with all of their occupations, any activity that enriches their life and brings them deeper meaning. Sheela’s clinical perspective is thoughtful, holistic, and always puts her clients first.
Millions of Americans are impacted by infertility, birth trauma, and reproductive loss. Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with infertility but are less likely to seek treatment, according to Dr. Kristy Christopher-Holloway, director of New Vision Counseling Center, in Douglasville, Georgia, and an expert on the mental health impacts of infertility. In an interview with Raymond Barrett, CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute, Dr. Christopher-Holloway discussed how telehealth is helping expand her practice in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Christopher-Holloway says about 20% of the U.S. population is impacted by an infertility diagnosis every year. Black women are about 1.5 times more likely to experience the diagnosis of infertility, but they typically will seek help or treatment for the diagnosis at lesser rates.
Her current research includes perinatal mental health and infertility. “We know that this is an under-researched population area, and when there is no research we cannot do an effective treatment.”
Jay Ostrowski describes how his telemental health platform, Adaptive Telehealth, offers modern features for well-reasoned clinicians. With expertise in HIPAA compliance, Jay created his platform to anchor therapists as they walk an unstable mental health tightrope. Choosing Adaptive as your telehealth home base accommodates your clients, while attuning to your practice goals.
Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers in New York State (NASW-NYS), Dr. Samantha Fletcher, has a PhD in social work and is a passionate advocate for ethical social work practice. Samantha argues that racial disparities are permeating almost every aspect of our society. Her even-handed response calls for education, personal responsibility, and having enough humility to be wrong.
The social work profession was built on generalist practice. This approach gives social workers a perspective that is unique to the field: an eye for injustice that impacts social systems at the micro (person-to-person), mezzo (organization, group, and community), or macro (society at large) levels. Social workers have a distinct interpretation of social issues because of their role flexibility; and in Samantha’s view, justice is best achieved when all of these factors are considered.