Mental health services switch to telehealth in Northwest Kansas

As the COVID-19 crisis led to statewide stay-at-home orders, even essential service providers in the health care industry saw people hesitant to come and seek needed help.

For High Plains Mental Health Center (HPMHC), this meant many of their 6,000 annual patients from across Northwest Kansas were facing the anxiety and uncertainty of life without the necessary support.

“When COVID began, we saw a fairly dramatic decrease in the number of people coming in for services,” said David Anderson, director of clinical services for HPMHC. “We were concerned that, because they weren’t coming in, some of them would end up in significant crisis if we didn’t reach out to them.”

In order to connect with patients during extraordinary times, HPMHC turned to telehealth as a way to meet the needs of the region. Funding from a Kansas Health Foundation Impact and Capacity Grant helped ensure cost wasn’t a barrier during this switch.

“Without telehealth, situations would have been a lot worse, as no one would have had access to us, so they could get help managing their anxiety, managing the depression, and knowing that they’re going to be okay and can cope through a situation no one has control over,” said Crista Geyer, an outpatient therapist.

To learn more about how High Plains Mental Health Center made the transition to telehealth, and how KHF funding helped make it a reality, please view the Health Happenings video above.

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