Telehealth usage has increased 38x since the pandemic, and it’s not going anywhere.8 The growth of virtual visits provides us with many new and amazing opportunities to be more inclusive, reach children in rural areas, and offer them a more comfortable environment.
Telehealth provides an infrastructure in which children can feel comfortable talking with someone about their experiences. Between TikTok, Instagram, and texting, children are used to communicating through computers. It’s been identified as a comfort, especially during COVID-19. Therapists now have new opportunities to reach children in ways they didn’t or couldn’t before.
Telehealth helps us reach children in rural areas. It also helps children who are more comfortable talking to a therapist of their own race or nationality. In a physical space, we’re confined to the resources readily available. Telehealth allows us to be much more inclusive.
How MACA is Helping
Before the pandemic, MACA secured a competitive grant to train clinicians on the appropriate and effective ways to help children via telehealth.
In May 2020, we offered a three-hour basic training to clinicians across the country, with the help and support of trainers from the Medical University of South Carolina and the National Children’s Alliance. We were also thrilled to have clinicians from the Family Advocacy Center, which is part of the Baystate Medical Center, and from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Clinicians were trained on things you need to consider when meeting with children online, like determining if a child is injured, being abused, and understanding their conditions at home. To further support our clinicians, our funding also included supplies such as iPads and therapy tools that can improve services.
Through these efforts, we were also able to expand access to evidence-based mental health services across the state.
Working together can end child abuse.