Telepsychiatry helps with mental health burdens in rural Missouri

From the Post-Dispatch:

Missouri has seen a rapid growth in “telepsychiatry” services. Health providers see the technology as a powerful solution to the severe shortage of specialists able to diagnose and prescribe medications for mental disorders — a dangerous scenario that has contributed to higher rates of hospitalizations, emergency room visits, drug addiction and suicide in rural areas.

Compass Health Network, whose health care facilities serve rural residents across the state, provided more than 36,000 telepsychiatry sessions last year at its Pathways and Crider Health clinics in 26 cities. That is more than triple the 11,000 sessions provided just five years ago, officials say.

Mercy Health’s primary care clinic in Rolla began providing pediatric telepsychiatry to its patients five years ago and now reaches 650 children a year. Mercy is working to integrate the technology into more of its rural primary care clinics.

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