FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 17, 2020
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio Commends Governor DeWine for Expanding Telehealth
In Response to COVID-19 Crisis, NAMI Ohio appreciates increased access to behavioral health providers as the demand for crisis intervention continues to grow.
Columbus, Ohio – NAMI Ohio applauds this extension of telehealth services that will broaden the ability of people to access counselors, social works and other health professional that will help many endure during the COVID-19 crisis. “The benefits of telehealth since the beginning of the COVID-19 have been immeasurable, with individuals, families and children being able maintain contact with their physicians, counselors and case managers,” said Terry Russell, Executive Director of NAMI Ohio. He also stated, “Crisis hotlines for mental health services have seen a 1000% increase in calls since April with telehealth services being a lifesaving link to those needing access to mental health services and supports.
Governor Mike DeWine signed a new order expanding telehealth in Ohio saying ‘the hopes are that people who need mental, physical and behavioral health can get the help they need with this order.’ DeWine announced the executive order will broaden the ability of people to access counselors, social workers, and marriage and family counselors.
The COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming our communities and our health care system, including adding greater demands for mental health care. Before the telehealth was offered to providers of behavioral health services, a person would have had a face-to-face first meeting, and counselors and social workers would be required to take special training to provide telehealth services. Maintaining access to care and supports is critical for the people with mental health conditions in Ohio, as well as those who may now need help due to isolation, grief, unemployment, increased anxiety, and more resulting from this crisis. Our community needs more mental health care, not less. Like many of the recent changes and use of technology, the use of telehealth has allowed those receiving services to continue getting help toward recovery and treatment while allowing providers a safe alternative to face to face interactions.