EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — Being a school therapist comes with challenges that could unintenionally affect a child but a local company is offering a solution where both can be the priority.
“In the fall of last year, I was approached about putting therapy in the school districts. I knew that the way people were doing it, as I looked into it, wasn’t working very well,” Chief Executive Officer of Integrity Telehealth, Cliff Preston said.
“There was a lot of turnover which meant children were having multiple therapists and I wanted to find a different way to do it better.”
Preston and his team brainstormed and later created a telehealth kiosk which he believes is the missing piece to several issues going on in the mental health world.
“There just aren’t enough therapists in the state of Arkansas to meet the need,” Preston.
He believes teletherapy is going to help bridge that gap without adding to a therapist’s workload.
“My dad was a professional counselor and I saw what he went through and how stressful it was him,” Preston said.
“When we started this place, my goal was to create a safe place for people but a safe place for therapists where they weren’t having to chase productivity to get paid and something where they weren’t having to worry that if they don’t see enough people that they weren’t going to be able to provide for their families,” he said.
Integrity Telehealth allows therapists to work from home and be on a structured schedule where they don’t have to figure out what school they have to go to.
“I’ll take care of the billing. I’ll take care of the scheduling. I’ll take care of the schools. I’ll take care of everything. You just do what you’re called to do so you can give the best therapy you can provide,” Preston said.
When therapists are performing at their best, children are growing to their potential.
“It allows us to be able to have therapy for people that just wouldn’t have it. There are districts even in our area where there were people who were identified that needed services but there was no one to do those services because everyone was so busy,” Preston said.
“This allows us to go places and see people that have never been seen before.”
Integrity Telehealth isn’t locked into providing services through the screens but they are more than open to having face to face interactions with the kids as needed.
El Dorado and Parkers Chapel School Districts have partnered with Integrity to provide this service to students.
Holly Billings, Mental Health Coordinator for ESD, says this option couldn’t have come at a better time as some of their previous mental health providers are no longer serving the area.
She knows there’s a huge shortage in therapists across the state and she appreciates the effort by Integrity to provide this telehealth service, which will be a key option while schools are working through this coronavirus pandemic.
“When schools shut down the therapists weren’t able to come into the schools any longer so being able to have this an option allows that continue whether the students is in the classroom or not,” Billings said.
The kiosks are compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Department of Defense.
Integrity Telehealth has been in communication with Strong and Smackover-Norphlet School Districts. The school boards will vote on whether or not they want to provide this service to their students.
To learn more information about Integrity Telehealth you can visit their website.