Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Resources and Recommendations for Engaging Children and Adolescents in Telemental Health Interventions During COVID-19 and Beyond

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The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the past several months has created unprecedented challenges across multiple domains of life. In an attempt to slow the spread of the virus and minimize the dangers associated with overburdening health care systems, authorities across the United States have implemented physical distancing measures, asking people to stay at home and avoid nonessential travel and outings. In order to continue providing services while adhering to physical distancing measures, many mental health care providers have transitioned to providing therapy via telehealth technology, but are unsure of how to adapt procedures and materials. In particular, youth-focused providers may be uncertain how to shift therapy online while keeping children and adolescents actively engaged during sessions. We aim to provide guidance to youth focused practitioners who are considering transitioning therapy services to a telehealth format. We have developed these recommendations based on our experience providing home- and school-based telemental health services, as well as training predoctoral clinical psychology interns to do so through the Telehealth Outreach Program (TOP) within the mental Health Disparities and Diversity Program at the medical University of South Carolina (mUSC). Although TOP was not formally established until 2015, practitioners from mUSC have been delivering evidence-based mental health treatments to underserved children and adolescents through telehealth technology since 2011 (see Jones et al., 2014, and Stewart, Orengo-Aguayo, Gilmore, et al., 2017, for more detail).


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the Behavior Therapist