Olivia Boyce Speaks on Using Telemental Health to Address the Crisis in Montana at Mental Health America’s 2017 Conference

Olivia Boyce, marketing and communications manager at InSight Telepsychiatry, spoke at the Mental Health America (MHA) 2017 Annual Conference held in Washington, D.C. She discussed the mental health landscape in Montana and presented on an innovative program that the MHA of Montana Chapter is using to bring increased access to mental health care to this underserved state.

The conference theme this year is Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll – all often considered to be controversial topics. MHA challenged attendees and speakers to talk openly about the messy and uneasy truths that accompany mental health, mental illness and addiction in hopes of starting conversations around potential solutions.

As part of the Rocking it On the Local Level breakout group where MHA Affiliate Programs discussed ways that their programs are creating change in local communities, Boyce will be presenting on the telemental health program that her organization and MHA of Montana under executive director Dan Aune, has worked to implement.

Currently in Montana, 1 out of 5 adults are diagnosed with depression and there are 23.8 suicides per 100,000 people – the 3rd highest rate in the U.S (AFSP.org). Boyce explained some of the risk factors that are specific to Montana include geographic isolation, a “man-up” attitude, high use of alcohol, easy access to firearms and a mental health provider shortage (KFF.org). She then went on to explore how direct-to-consumer telemental health can uniquely address some of these challenges.

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) telemental health, also known as telebehavioral health or telepsychiatry, is the delivery of psychiatry, mental or behavioral health care directly to consumers through convenient online video calls.

The idea for the MHA of Montana telemental health program started two years ago at the annual…

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