It’s so difficult to set aside time to take care of your mental health when you have a full-time job and a family to take care of. It can be really hard to afford quality mental health care as well, especially if you don’t have insurance. It’s no surprise that a huge need for many in Hendricks county was seeking out mental health services that are both affordable and convenient.
At Hope Healthcare, we recognized this need with many of our patients. They needed more intensive help than primary care providers could give. Our staff knew that something needed to be done to best help their community.
“We found that there was a huge need for folks who are really struggling on multiple levels, with their mental health, relationships, and more,” said Chet Linson, Clinical Services Manager at Hope Healthcare. “From there we knew our patients needed more intensive help, but it was nearly impossible to get a psychiatrist in our facility; we wondered if technology could help us.”
This is where the Tele-Psychiatry program came into conception. Telehealth services are not new, they have allowed patients to essentially Facetime with clinicians to be diagnosed with an illness and prescribe medications. We wanted to incorporate this concept for mental health services and began to think about how to launch a Tele-Psych program.
How the Tele-Psych Program Began
At Hope Healthcare, our staff wanted to offer a program similar to TeleHealth, where our patients could have the ease of speaking to a psychiatrist through a method similar to FaceTime, and not charge hundreds of dollars for this service.
But, we weren’t sure where to begin, until we worked with IU Health. Our staff noticed that a Tele-Psychiatric service was used in their emergency rooms, but only during the mornings and evenings when most accidents occur. During the afternoons, this service was not being utilized.
We then struck up a deal with IU Health. Our staff would use their Tele-Psych services for their new program and use psychiatrists from IU Health to help patients with their mental health needs.
How the Tele-Psych Program Works
So, how exactly does this program work for patients? It’s actually pretty simple, and very convenient for patients in many ways.
First, patients speak with a primary care provider in person at Hope Healthcare to see what kind of services would be needed for their needs. If they believe the patient would benefit from the tele-psych program, they recommend this to them.
If the patient agrees, they are scheduled a separate appointment for the tele-psych services. When the patient comes in for the appointment, they use an iPad in a secluded room, to ensure the patient’s information is confidential. The patient then speaks to a psychiatrist from IU Health through a very private, very secure, and HIPAA compliant method of communication that is similar to FaceTime. This can take about an hour, because the psychiatrist is essentially doing a mental health checklist, to ensure the psychiatrist has all the information they need about the patient.
For the rest of the appointment, the patient then talks to the psychiatrist for a counseling session. Once this process is finished, the patient leaves the room, and one of our staff members enters that room to speak with the psychiatrist. They discuss what should be prescribed and if follow up or additional appointments are necessary, and this information is then relayed to the patient.
The Tele-Psych program can be a life-changing service for many in the Avon, Danville, Brownsburg, Plainfield, Speedway, and other areas west of downtown Indianapolis who need psychiatric help for their mental health. Just an FYI though, that the program cannot offer services to treat drug or alcohol addiction. For low-cost services for drug and alcohol addiction, you can try the Hamilton Center in Plainfield or Cummins Behavioral Health in Avon (links)
Sounds simple enough, right? If you have about an hour of free time to speak with a psychiatrist, you could finally start taking care of your mental health, something that might have seemed impossible in the past.
What might be even better than how convenient this program is, however, is how affordable the services are at our facility. We only accept patients who are uninsured and do not qualify for government programs, and it only costs about $30 for a walk-in appointment and $10 for an appointment fee schedule.
The Success and Future of the Tele-Psych Program
Our staff knew a program like Tele-Psych was needed in Hendricks and Marion county, but didn’t know what the results would be after launching it. There aren’t many other programs like this that offer online psychiatric help, and so far this has acted as a pilot program for our facility.
So far the Tele-Psych program has been helpful for many of our patients, and most of them didn’t even know they needed mental health support beforehand.
“About 75% of our patients who have used our Tele-Pych services didn’t necessarily know they needed this care. It was after they were recommended by their primary care provider that they accessed this care,” said Linson. Due to the success of this program at Hope Healthcare, IU Health has taken note and has begun to incorporate mental health services with primary care, which can be beneficial to so many out there.
We wanted to launch this program because there was a huge need in our community, but more importantly, we wanted to help remove the stigma surrounding mental healthcare. Our staff wants to spread the message that just because someone is in need of psychiatric help, they are not crazy, and it’s actually quite normal to ask for help.
Seeking help from a psychiatrist shouldn’t be seen any differently than going to a doctor because you’re sick, or for a check-up. The main goal with the Tele-Psych program was to normalize the act of seeking help for one’s mental health, and if the success of this program continues, we will continue to make huge strides in Hendricks county.
Seek Help for Your Mental Health Today
If your mental health has been neglected for too long because of how expensive or inconvenient mental health services are, give Hope Healthcare a call today at: 317-272-0708 to book an appointment to our Tele-Psych program.