Working Cooperatively to Offer Behavioral Health Services
In an effort to improve access to behavioral health services throughout the state, Spectrum Health and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services are teaming up on teletherapy. Building on their strong, collaborative relationship, both organizations have developed a program that addresses a gap in services and fills a vital community need.
Through its Spectrum Health Now app, Spectrum Health is offering teletherapy to treat anxiety, depression, grief, stress and sadness. The service will be available to anyone in Michigan aged 18 or older. Spectrum Health and Pine Rest mental health professionals will be working together to ensure that individuals will receive the necessary assistance within 48 hours.
“Spectrum Health is pleased to expand access to behavioral health services by working in cooperation with Pine Rest—a partner that has a great reputation and a long history in this field,” said Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, Spectrum Health. “We expect this arrangement will not only make behavioral health care more readily and immediately available but also will decrease the stigma around mental health services as people access care in the privacy of their own homes.”
“Mental health is perfect for telemedicine. It doesn’t require hands-on care and is primarily a verbal intervention,” says Mark Eastburg, PhD, President and CEO, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. “Ten years from now, I hope our community can say we’ve figured out the mental health access problem. Partnering with Spectrum Health is one great step toward that goal.”
In its 2019 Behavioral Health Access Study, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund noted that 46 percent of people with anxiety disorders and 53 percent of those with depressive episodes go untreated due in great part to provider shortages.
Both Spectrum Health and Pine Rest are experienced in the field of telemedicine. Spectrum Health began video visits for primary care in 2015, treating conditions such as fever, allergies and rashes, and recently conducted its 100,000th visit. It also launched a telemedicine approach for specialists to connect with patients. Pine Rest has been conducting telehealth services since 2013. In the past year, Pine Rest provided 25,000 telehealth services visits.
The teletherapy services will be covered by most insurance providers. For initial access, individuals should call 844.322.7374.
Those with suicidal thoughts or more urgent behavioral health needs should call 911 or go to the local Emergency Department or call the confidential National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which is free and available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).