Telemental Health

Telemental Health in the University Setting Report of High Success Rates Compared to In-Person Counseling


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Dr. Sherry Benton has been developing a university-based, telemental health program at the University of Florida for the last 3 years. Her program includes self-help materials, which makes it formally known as “therapist-assisted” mental health care. Serving a diverse and widespread campus and off-campus population, Dr. Benton’s program success rates rival those of in-person care.

A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article featured a story outlining Dr. Benton’s program and it’s remarkably high success rates.  

In the pilot program, 26 students treated under TAO showed more improvement, calculated using a system called Behavioral Health Measure­-20, than 26 participants in the in-person group-therapy sessions at the counseling center. The students treated under TAO also made more progress than about 700 students receiving individual in-person therapy.

 “The results blew me away, not to mention the fact that it stunned all of my counselors, who I think are still trying to come to terms with what happened,” Ms. Benton says.

Congratulations and “well done” to all involved!

Dr. Benton will be a co-presenter on a panel we’ve organized for the 2014 American Psychological Association in Washington DC this August 7th. CEUs will be available from the APA. The conference is a full day workshop called:  Telepsychology Best Practices. Other presenters will be Joseph McMenamin, MD, JD , who will address a variety of legal issues, including HIPAA, HITECH and Skype, informed consent and state law. Fred Millan, Ph.D., will speak about interjurisdictional issues with a focus on international telepsychology. I will outline definitions, the scientific literature involved in telemental health, documentation and emergency planning.

See this page for conference registration information. Her focus will be on assessment tools to be used with telepsychology and online counseling or therapist-assisted programming.

Introduction to Telehealth Theory & Practice

Enjoy a fast-moving overview of telebehavioral and telemental health. Understand the key points related to telehealth clinical, legal, ethical, technology, reimbursement, social media and other pivotal issues.

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