Finding Hope


Idaho Youth Ranch rolls out new "tele-mental health" service

"It's going to change the landscape and the operations of counseling."
Posted at 11:03 AM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 08:39:11-04

For the past two years, 6 On Your Side has worked to end the stigma surrounding mental health in the Gem State and shine light on the resources available for treatment.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, many of those mental health resources have evolved and adapted to continue providing care. Just one, the Idaho Youth Ranch, say they're rolling out a new way to provide mental health treatment.

"We are delighted that we have moved forward with tele-mental health, that's video mental health and telephone mental health we'd like to think of it, to meet the needs of our clients. The situation right now has driven a lot of that," said Scott Curtis, CEO of Idaho Youth Ranch.

RELATED: Idaho Youth Ranch expands mental health services

Curtis says mental health challenges haven't gone away during this crisis, and his organization wants to be able to provide support for those who can't get therapy in person.

"There are many clients--youth and families--who at same time are experiencing stress and experiencing more trauma are also unable to come into the office for various reasons," Curtis said.

The Idaho Youth Ranch is hoping their video and telephone therapy will have an added benefit on top of preventing the spread of COVID-19: they say more options will be available to rural areas where there may not be many resources available for mental health treatment, plus they expect teens and young adults to feel more comfortable seeking treatment on a digital platform.

"All of the youth, from north to south, east to west, of Idaho now have access to our services. Before, they could only access services either in Coeur d' Alene, Boise or Caldwell,' said Jose Valley, Chief Programs Officer at the Idaho Youth Ranch. "They're actually out there, they really want to use technology to serve their social purpose and their personal purposes too."

Organization officials believe with the new rollout, the number of people seeking treatment is not only going to increase, but it's also going to be a game changer for mental health treatment.

"We believe that it's going to change the landscape and the operations of counseling," Valle said.

The Idaho Youth Ranch is also doing therapy via telephone in order to better accommodate families without internet or computer access. They're also taking referrals.