Created: March 25, 2020 05:58 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Telehealth services are rapidly expanding across the nation amid the coronavirus pandemic and mental health access is no exception.
Therapists in New Mexico are getting on board, but they face some challenges.
“It’s a little bit more challenging as a therapist to do it through electronic means so none of us really ventured into it before now, so I think it’s been huge as far as expanding our practices,” Latitia Brown-Ortiz, owner of Seasons of Change Counseling and Psychotherapy in Albuquerque.
She said President Trump loosened rules for telehealth, but guidelines are still unclear.
“There’s been conflicting information on if we’re allowed to do phone sessions, versus telehealth like this right now. We get different messages kind of almost everyday,” she said.
Using apps like FaceTime, Facebook video chat and Skype are not compliant with federal privacy laws, so a special telesoftware needs to be used.
Brown-Ortiz says in-person sessions are preferred because therapists can gain more insight.
“We see each other right now on these screens, I see just this much of my client,” she said. “There’s so much more that comes through in terms of body language and so we don’t get to see that.”
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