An Innovative Approach to Care: Integrating Mental Health Services Through Telemedicine in Rural School-Based Health Centers

Psychiatr Serv. 2019 Mar 1;70(3):239-242. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2018 Dec 17.


In rural communities, primary care providers continue to provide mental health services, and about 70% of children and adolescents identified to have a psychiatric disorder never receive treatment. A telehealth model for providing integrated mental health services in a school-based health clinic has the potential to increase access to specialized care for the most vulnerable youths. This column provides an overview of the strategies used to implement and integrate such a model in West Virginia. Operationalization, barriers, challenges, and judicious resource use are discussed. Appropriate reimbursement for services and state-specific legislation to ensure consistent revenue to sustain the program are considered.

Keywords: Rural psychiatric services; School based Mental health; Telecommunications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Rural Health Services
  • School Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • West Virginia