Guidelines for establishing a telemental health program to provide evidence-based therapy for trauma-exposed children and families

Psychol Serv. 2014 Nov;11(4):398-409. doi: 10.1037/a0034963. Epub 2013 Dec 9.


Although similar rates of traumatic experiences exist in both rural and urban settings, mental health resources available to those living in rural areas are often scarce. Limited resources pose a problem for children and families living in rural areas, and several barriers to service access and utilization exist including reduced anonymity, few "after hours" services, decreased availability of evidence-based treatments, few specialty clinics, and expenses associated with travel, taking time off work, and provision of childcare. As a solution, the authors discuss the utility, use, and set-up of a telemental health program within an existing community outreach program. Suggestions for establishing a telemental health clinic are presented along with guidelines for the delivery of trauma-focused, cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) via telemental health videoconferencing technology. Specific guidelines discussed include (1) establishing and using community partnerships, (2) Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), (3) equipment setup and technological resources, (4) videoconferencing software, (5) physical setup, (6) clinic administration, (7) service reimbursement and start-up costs, (8) therapy delivery modifications, and (9) delivering culturally competent services to rural and remote areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • Vulnerable Populations