Responding to COVID-19 | Telehealth
What is Telehealth?
The Center for Connected Health Policy defines telehealth as “Telehealth is a collection of means or methods for enhancing health care, public health and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies.” Given the current public health emergency, telehealth has become an essential way to provide mental health services.
Definitions and Evidence-Base
Here we highlight MHTTC training and technical assistance products and resources related to telehealth, as well as a compilation of telehealth resources from other reputable organizations.
MHTTC Upcoming Events:
Mountain Plains MHTTC
October 22, 10-11am PT / 1-2pm ET
MHTTC Products and Resources:
Expert consultants devoted the first segment of this hour-long session to discussing best practices in telehealth and then addressed questions submitted by registrants.
Within one week of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s stay-at-home order, The Brookline Center (Brookline, MA) had finalized their telehealth policies and procedures, trained all their staff, and launched their telehealth services with all 80 staff clinicians. Now, six weeks later, they conduct 1,000 remote client visits weekly and have begun to conduct online group sessions as well.
Due to the need for many mental health providers to transition to online service delivery as a result of COVID-19, this webinar provided general guidance on the use of telehealth services and recommendations for adapting common Cognitive Behavioral Therapy tools (e.g., repeating assessment, homework tracking, etc.). Special linguistic and cultural considerations for providers of Latino clients were presented as well.
Clinical Innovations in Telehealth | Global MHTTC
Clinical Innovations in Telehealth Learning Series is a weekly online series targeting high-priority clinical issues for providers using telehealth. Experts in clinical care and telehealth devoted the first segment of each hour-long session to a specific topic, then addressed questions submitted by registrants.
- Session 1: Telehealth and Suicide Care - includes slide deck and FAQ
- Session 2: Telehealth and CBT for Psychosis - includes slide deck
- Session 3: Providing Culturally Relevant Telehealth Services for Latino Populations During a Pandemic - includes slide deck and FAQ
- Session 4: Treating PTSD in the Context of COVID-19 - includes slide deck and FAQ
This brief identifies issues to consider when conducting mental health services and supports through telehealth with culturally diverse communities and provides strategies to ensure that the national Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards continue to drive efforts towards culturally competent care. Now available in Spanish!
This resource provides information on tips and methods on how to engage clients during the pandemic and as well with those who live in remote, rural, and otherwise difficult to access areas. Please note that it is best to talk with your agency's administration to determine any potential issues or concerns with providing remote services, including, but not limited to, HIPAA compliance, reimbursement, and authorizations.
Recently, the New England MHTTC held an online discussion session led by Reid Plimpton, MPH, and Terry Rabinowitz, MD, DDS. In this session, they discussed telehealth from a provider's perspective.
This CEDAR Clinic clinical brief describes telehealth and discusses its benefits in the treatment of young people at risk for psychosis. It also discusses the benefits of using telehealth vs. traditional therapy.
In this time of changing methods to deliver services, everyone is looking to make sure they have the skills and knowledge to provide clients with the best possible experience. This webinar provided an overview on how to facilitate a virtual support group with practical advice and experiences from two current facilitators.
- Part 1 - Addressing Barriers and Highlighting Innovations in Telebehavioral Health: This event is an open engagement/discussion among participants focused on addressing barriers and highlighting innovations in telebehavioral health. Recording coming soon!
- Part 2 - Introduction to Telebehavioral Health: This event features Dr. Chris Fore, Director, IHS TeleBehavioral Health Center of Excellence at Indian Health Service, presents “Introduction to Telebehavioral Health for IHCPs”, covering topics such as defining telehealth, workflow considerations, configuring the space and privacy issues, billing and reimbursement and special considerations and more. Recording coming soon!
Looking for the silver lining: Resolving our ambivalence about using MI in telehealth? This webinar discussed the differences between using MI face-to-face or via telehealth, discussed solutions to common barriers, and prepares you to use/improve your use of MI in the resolution of ambivalence via telehealth.
Making a Good Connection: Engaging Students and Families in School Tele-Mental Health is a three-part webinar series geared toward providers who are making the transition from in-person to telehealth services. Session content focused on practical strategies and equity concerns related to engaging children, adolescents and families using distance technology. All materials include the webinar recording, slide deck, and an FAQ document.
- Session 1: Best Practices for Student Engagement Through Tele-Mental Health
- Session 2: Enhancing Family-School Partnerships Through Tele-Mental Health
- Session 3: Strategies for Addressing Trauma, Crises and Grief Through Tele-Mental Health
This infographic highlights the current stressors that may impact mental health patients and providers during this time as well as provides additional resources for addressing these challenges.
This is a recording of the Native Youth Telehealth Initiative Webinar, which took place on May 14, 2020. The recording begins at slide 12 of the presentation. Dr. George Baston, MHRD, Ed.D CTE, and Natasha Peterson, BS, covered how to implement telehealth using the “Let’s Talk Interactive” platform and opportunities to collaborate with the National American Indian and Alaska Native MHTTC.
This webinar addressed how the COVID-19 pandemic affects access to care, specifically mental health services. Presenters discussed how access to care is critical for farming and rural and frontier communities and highlighted the unique barriers these communities face.
The focus of this webinar was to provide the support and information that teachers, supervisors, BCBAS, therapists and other professionals supporting youth during COVID 19 have been seeking. Topics discussed in this webinar include challenges for students and clients, strategies for outreaching and educating students through virtual classrooms, and how to support individuals with developmental disabilities and autism during the pandemic.
This document presents a general landscape of state mental health licensing board responses to the COVID-19 public health emergency related to telemental health services and payment. It is important to note that many of these provisions are time-sensitive, and so may not remain in effect beyond the listed dates (or the date when states declare the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency).
Rising Telehealth Behavioral Health Practices-Centering the Needs of Historically Marginalized Youth in California | Pacific Southwest MHTTC
COVID-19 has forced us into conditions that challenge best practices for serving the mental health needs of youth we marginalize. Through these two sessions, we supported California school mental health advocates, educators, administrators, and other school systems leaders in managing stress and trauma in their communities.
- Session 1: How might we partner with and listen to youth / students whom we marginalize, specifically in their telehealth experience during COVID-19?
- Session 2: How might community-based organizations provide student support, and what can school systems learn from them, specifically related to COVID-19 telehealth?
Suicide Prevention in Rural Primary Care: Intervention, Follow-up, and Telehealth Tips | Mountain Plains MHTTC
This 90 minute training is part two in a two-part series on suicide prevention in rural primary care offices. This session covers intervention including medication, safety planning, documentation, and follow-up for patients expressing suicidal ideation as well as tips for helping patients via telehealth.
Recording coming soon!
The Northwest MHTTC and the Behavioral Health Training, Workforce and Policy Innovation Center of the BHI partnered to present an 8-session telehealth learning series for behavioral health providers across the continuum of behavioral health care in Washington State in response to COVID-19. The webinar series met twice weekly for four weeks and addressed a variety of topics related to telehealth, including operational and administrative issues (such as billing), equipment and technology requirements, and strategies to provide effective clinical care.
- Session 1: Telehealth Nuts & Bolts Kick-Off - recording, slides, and Q&A
- Session 2: Telehealth: Myths and Facts You Need to Know - recording, slides, and Q&A
- Session 3: Telehealth Billing and Reimbursement - recording, slides, and Q&A
- Session 4: Introduction to Digital Health: Getting Started and Safety Planning - recording, slides, and Q&A
- Session 5: Creating a Clinical Workflow for Telehealth - recording, slides, and Q&A
- Session 6: Telehealth and Substance Use Disorders - recording, slides, and Q&A
- Session 7: 42 CFR Part 2 and HIPAA - recording, slides, and Q&A
- Session 8: Telemedicine with Children and Adolescents - recording and slides
The current worldwide public health emergency has promoted many mental health providers to adapt to an online method of service delivery. This webinar provided general guidance on the integration of Latinx cultural values, motivational interviewing principles via telehealth, and on how to provide strategies for adapting motivational interviewing through a culturally affirming lens.
The Pacific Southwest MHTTC’s new handbook is written for licensed behavioral health providers who are working to transition to telehealthcare. In this time of rapid change, clinicians need quick, accessible information on telehealth basics and best practices. Developed in consultation with mental health providers in our region, this guide includes tips and checklists, research-informed considerations, and more resources.
Presenter Jonathan Neufeld, director of the Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center, provided an overview of telehealth issues for behavioral health providers as they rapidly transition to virtual delivery of services and supports. Topics covered include definitions, modalities, and basics of delivering psychotherapy and other specialty mental health services.
Hosted by the Mountain Plains MHTTC and the Mid- America MHTTC and ATTC, this weekly online series is for providers who are unfamiliar with telehealth. Our Technology Transfer Center (TTC) Network specialists devoted the first 20 minutes of each hour-long session to a specific topic, then addressed questions submitted by TLC Tuesday registrants. Recordings and FAQs of the 20-minute presentations are posted below.
- Session 1: Telehealth Basics - recording and FAQ
- Session 2: Telehealth Billing - recording and FAQ
- Session 3: Telehealth Tools - recording and FAQ
- Session 4: Children and Adolescents - recording and FAQ
- Session 5: Telehealth Troubleshooting - recording and FAQ
This session discusses some of the benefits of a telehealth practice, as well as reviewing the risks. Dr. James Armontrout places particular emphasis on discussions of potential pitfalls, both legal and clinical, that may be encountered in the telehealth setting.
Telemedicine in the wake of COVID-19: Updates on the landscape of telemedicine in Minnesota and nationally | Great Lakes MHTTC
This webinar discusses how telemedicine is positively impacting behavioral health care's ability to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar also provides updates on new and moving federal and state telemedicine policies.
Recording coming soon!
Telemental Health & Engagement | Mid-America MHTTC
This webinar, presented by Mid-America MHTTC faculty trainer Holly Roberts, Ph.D., introduces best practices in telemental health while exploring the importance of telephonics.
Recording coming soon!
Dr. Glenda Wrenn provides an overview of the unique challenges created by the pandemic that impact mental health and present ways to mitigate provider fatigue and burnout while providing both telepsychiatry and in person care. She also discusses how the intersection of mental health and current racial tensions may impact your practice, with helpful tools to navigate the discomfort and uncertainty of these unprecedented times.
Recording coming soon!
This fact sheet is a summary of the information shared in the SMI Advisor Webinar titled Telepsychiatry in the Era of COVID-19. The fact sheet covers the telepsych regulation changes that are currently in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and covers equipment, platforms, and license information that may be helpful to mental health clinicians during this time.
This presentation provided a brief overview of practices and strategies for telesupervision: clinical supervision provided via video or phone. Presenters addressed best practices for communicating through tele-modalities to ensure that supervisors can recreate nuanced communication practices akin to in-person approaches. This session explored ethical and legal considerations across a range of topics, from informed consent to managing crises that arise in supervisees’ clinical encounters.
Teletherapy Tip Sheets | Central East MHTTC
Teletherapy connects clients to vital health care services through virtual formats, phone, or via other online or electronic means.
- Burnout and Virtual Fatigue in Teletherapy - Videoconference-based psychotherapy can contribute to burnout due to the number of sessions held in a day, the extended time spent looking at a screen, the trials that come with working with clients in an online setting, and other challenges. This tip sheet offers strategies for ensuring behavioral health provider self-care and well-being.
- Group Teletherapy - This tip sheet explores technical requirements, environmental standards, and logistical issues to consider when preparing for virtual group therapy sessions.
- Teletherapy for Individual Services - This tip sheet focuses primarily on best practices, skills, and strategies for providing video and phone-based services.
The Effectiveness and Utility of Telebehavioral (Telehealth) Services: The Future is Here | National American Indian and Alaska Native MHTTC
This webinar includes a brief review of telebehavioral health research and its efficacy, strategies that promote skill development, and resources related to guidelines, privacy/security, and confidentiality rules/regulations. Finally, the virtualization of behavioral health services post PHE are highlighted.
Recording coming soon!
The purpose of this four-webinar series is to disseminate information and discuss applications of person-centered tools available to help engage and activate individuals with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders in person-centered treatment and services.
- Part 1: Landscape of Digital Peer Support Services Across the Globe
- Part 2: Implementation of Digital Peer Support in Your Organization
- Part 3: How to Co-Design Digital Peer Support Programs for Your Organization
A public health crisis can cause distress for all involved, including providers of behavioral health services. Attending to your personal well-being during this time is just as important as supporting the individuals you serve. Providers are encouraged to be aware of the toll that working with others in distress can have on their own mental well-being.
Drs. Kenneth Ruggiero and Margaret Anton described strategies to address COVID-related and other barriers to care and demonstrated an iPad-based toolkit that houses a collection of games and activities clinicians can use to improve quality of care in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).
Pacific Southwest MHTTC provides a workbook resource that focuses on ways for facilitators to design and deliver effective and engaging digital learning during COVID-19. It includes tips, examples, and reflective questions for those who are leading online professional development and other group learning events. This guide provides technical and interactive strategies and approaches to virtual learning to support the mental and school mental health workforce. Two study sessions are also provided that specifically discuss technology and facilitation practice. Each session covered different sections of the guide.
As peer support specialists seek to quickly and effectively offer digital peer support across the United States, it is important that they — and their organizations — know the practical aspects of using digital peer support to deliver support services. Hosted by the Central East MHTTC, this presentation covered topics including the latest scientific developments on digital peer support and presents guidelines and emerging best practices to support service users through remote and telehealth technologies.
Other Telehealth Resources:
Center for Connected Health Policy, National Telehealth Policy Resource Center
- COVID-19 Related State Actions
- Telehealth Coverage Policies in The Time of COVID-19
- Coronavirus and Telehealth: The New Federal Law and Policy Hurdles That Remain
National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights
Telehealth for Mental Health
American Psychiatric Association and The American Telemedicine Association
Best Practices in Video-Conferencing-Based Telemental Health
California School-Based Health Alliance
School Telehealth Webinar Series | May 14, 19, 21, 27
Center of Excellence for Protected Health Information (CoE-PHI)
Telehealth and Privacy: Federal Guidance for SUD and Mental Health Treatment Providers
Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia Psychiatric, New York State Psychiatric Institute
Telehealth Tips: Managing Suicidal Clients During the COVID-19 Pandemic
National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
Strengthening Faith Community Connectedness During the COVID-19 Pandemic
National Telebehavioral Health Institute
Bibliography Telemental Health
Northeast Telehealth Resource Center
Telehealth Resource Webliography for COVID-19 Pandemic
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Using Telehealth to Identify and Manage Health And Substance Use Disorder Conditions in Rural Areas
- Pre-recorded Webinar: Telepsychiatry in the Era of COVID-19
- Pre-recorded Webinar: Using Telepsychiatry for Serious Mental Illness: An Introduction
- For patients: How to Prepare for a Video Appointment with Your Mental Health Clinician
- For clinicians: Tips for Telehealth Billing During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Treating Suicidal Patients During COVID-19: Best Practices and Telehealth
Zero Suicide Institute
Telehealth and Suicide Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS)
Peers Supporting Recovery From Mental Health Conditions
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare Learning Network
Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center
Telehealth Start-Up and Resource Guide Version 1.1
National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers
COVID-19 Telehealth Toolkit
National Council for Behavioral Health
Resources and Tools for Addressing Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Rural Health Information Hub
Rural Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Toolkit
USC Adolescent Trauma Training Center
Trauma Teletherapy for Youth in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Adapting Evidence-Based Treatment Approaches
COVID-19: Policy Announcements
American Society of Addiction Medicine
COVID-19 Supporting Access to Telehealth
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Medicare Telemedicine Healthcare Provider Fact Sheet
***Institute for Innovation and Implementation, University of Maryland School of Social Work
COVID-19 Telehealth Medicaid Expansions: A State-by-State Guide (roll-over map; updated daily)
Office for Civil Rights, Department of Health and Human Services
Notification of Enforcement Discretion on Telehealth Remote Communications
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Telemedicine and Prescribing Buprenorphine for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder
U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration
Use of Telemedicine While Providing Medication-Assisted Treatment
National Resources for Telehealth Information
SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline is standing by 24/7 to support you during the pandemic & beyond. Toll-free, multilingual, & confidential support services are available to all residents in the U.S. & its territories. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained counselor.