AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: The related video discusses research on therapy for patients with PTSD.
Isolation and financial worry can have a negative effect on our mental health, especially during the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. Central Texas therapy center Samaritan Center is offering tele-counseling to connect people to therapists from the comfort of their own homes.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Samaritan Center said it is promoting its virtual counseling sessions to the community in an effort to protect its staff and clients.
The provider uses a private, HIPAA-compliant platform that allows clients to connect with therapists at home through a computer, tablet or smartphone.
CEO Cindy Long said tele-therapy is very useful for those who have computers and tablets, but those with limited access to technology can still speak with counselors over the phone.
"Research shows that tele-therapy is as effective as in-person therapy," Long said.
The center offers long-term therapy options or one-time appointments to check in with counselors.
"Insurance pays for tele-therapy and we also offer a sliding scale for people who don't have insurance," Long said. "We really want people to take advantage of this and hopefully prevent a mental health crisis that can arise in times like these."
Samaritan Center also offers assistance to veterans and their families. The Hope for Heroes program provides counseling and peer support to veterans and their spouses and children.
Clients are allowed five free sessions.
"We have funding from the Texas Veterans Commission that allows us to offer those services for free to veterans and their family members," Long said.
Long said it is normal for people to feel anxious and worried, as coronavirus is taking a toll on everybody.
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