Greetings SACES Graduate Students and New Professionals:
Given the recent evolving situation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), as mental health professionals we have been left with the heavy task of being sure that clients will continue to be cared for in a safe and effective manner. Additionally, as counselor educators and counselor educators in training, we may have to evaluate alternative methods of instruction for our students.
If our regular format for providing counseling is face-to-face, what protocols are in place to ensure that clients continue to get proper mental health care? Also, given the recent shift in many colleges and universities to an online asynchronous format to accommodate students and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, we may have to transition our courses quickly.
Although some agencies are equipped to engage with clients via telehealth, what options are available for those that are not? This question has quickly risen to the surface over the past week, as we have watched the COVID-19 risks create anxiety and uncertainty in how mental health professionals across domains will provide client services. Colleges and universities are also preparing online formats for courses midway through the semester, which can cause stress for both instructors and students alike.
Various professional organizations have stepped up to provide potential resources for mental health providers, but it is not a one size fits all approach. Please take into consideration that your specific mental health sites will need to be considered before determining whether the following resources could be helpful. This includes reviewing your agency’s protocol and procedures for providing telehealth services. Additionally, state regulations should be considered. We hope these links are helpful in at least beginning to explore your possibilities to provide continuity of care to your clients.
Regarding counselor education, we encourage you to seek guidance from your respective college or university. Each location should have a protocol in place to assist you in transitioning your content into an online format. Depending on how specific your college or university is on transferring a face-to-face course into an online format, you may be responsible for identifying engaging concepts to assist your students in being successful during the next few weeks.
As counselors and counselor educators, we must continue to be a source of consistency for our clients and students. I hope these resources assist you in these roles.
Resource 1: HEMHA Guide to Counseling from a Distance
Resource 2: Distance Counseling: Best Practices in Higher Education Webinar
Resource 3: National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Providers
Hannah M. Coyt, LPCC-S, NCC, CCMHC
Lindsey Wilson College
Clinical Associate Faculty
CES Doctoral Candidate
DSO Past President
SACES Graduate Student Representative (2019-2020)
KMHCA President Elect