Telehealth increasingly popular during Coronavirus pandemic

News Connection

Health professionals say they've seen an increase in the use of "telehealth" services during the coronavirus outbreak

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Health professionals say they’ve seen an increase in the use of “telehealth” services during the coronavirus outbreak. The service is a benefit for people in Concho Valley counties.

“The experience has been really good,” said Pat Pastors, LPC at West Texas Counseling and Guidance.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many health professionals have been offering clients the option to use “telehealth” services in place of face-to-face consultations. Licensed Professional Counselor Pat Pastors said she has seen a rise in individuals interested in mental health services.

“I’m realizing there’s clients that are reaching out for mental health services. Some people are afraid to come in the lobby. We’re having new clients call because they know they can stay home and stay confidential,” explained Pastors, “Wellness is crucial right now. This is a good time to reach out and set up an appointment because you can be safe and comfortable in your own home and talk to a therapist to figure out what to work on.”

According to Pastors, “telehealth” offers flexibility and convenience to those who live outside the city limits.

“If I have a cancelation I can call someone that needed a session to have their session right then without travel time. The flexibility with ‘telehealth’ has been huge. We serve the rural communities so people who can’t get into town love it. If they’re calling from Robert Lee and can’t get into here, they can now hold services through mental health,” added Pastors.

West Texas Counseling and Guidance uses the website Doxy.Me. The site offers a simple, secure solution to access mental health services during these times.

“They are ensuring private health information is protected. Everything is in real time. We talk and then it’s done, it’s not stored anywhere,” continued Pastors.

Due to the service’s success, Pastors foresees health professionals using “telehealth” more often in the future, even when they are able to once again see clients face-to-face.

“Since this has happened, I think the Texas Board for Therapists will have to have new rules and policies put into place. Some clients like that face-to-face interaction and want to come in, but some clients want to continue the ‘telehealth.’ I do see West Texas Counseling and Guidance continuing that because our mission is wellness, whether it’s ‘telehealth,’ face-to-face, or play therapy. This is just one more component we can offer to people who want to pursue their own wellness,” said Pastors.

West Texas Counseling and Guidance is also offering virtual support groups during the COVID-19 outbreak for those interested.

“We have support groups going on through Zoom. We have ‘Celebrate Recovery’ for addictions, a support group for those who have lost family members to suicide, and a support group for parents who have lost their children at any age,” added Pastors.

For more information on the services offered by West Texas Counseling and Guidance, visit their website or call (325) 486-TALK (8255).



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