The Virginia Telemental Health Initiative (VTMHI) is a statewide program that provides FREE teletherapy to patients who don’t have insurance and are referred by one of our participating free and charitable clinics.
WHAT IS THERAPY?
In therapy, mental health providers talk with people about skills they want to develop to help with personal, social, and/or emotional problems. Challenges are common in our daily lives, and many people go to therapy to gain support in facing them. Possible topics might include marriage/family issues, stress, grief, depression, anxiety, or other life stressors. The focus is on improving your overall well-being and everyday life.
WHAT IS TELETHERAPY AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Teletherapy is therapy over video. Teletherapy is very similar to in-person therapy, and it has been proven to be as helpful as in-person care. The main difference is that the provider is not in the same place as you.
You can join your appointment from a private space in the clinic, at home, or somewhere else that is quiet and private that has reliable internet or cell service.
You will use a video tool that is safe and confidential.
Note: You must be physically located in Virginia during your session.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A TELETHERAPY SESSION?
Your provider will ask you about what brought you to see them. They may ask about your thoughts and feelings, events and people in your life, and your physical health. Your provider wants to get to know you and how they can help. They will talk with you about your goals and together you will make a plan for your therapy.
Your therapist is available by appointment only. If you need to make or change an appointment, please call your care coordinator at 804-214-6770 at least 24 business hours prior to your appointment.
VTMHI is a virtual clinic, and we try to make appointments available to patients at times that are convenient to them. This means that you may not be able to reach a staff person during typical business hours or at the time of your appointment. Messages left at the clinic will be returned within 24 business hours.
If you have a mental health emergency (for example, you are worried you might hurt yourself or someone else), you can:
- Call 911 (and ask for a crisis team if available).
- Go to the closest hospital.
- Call or text 988.
- Chat 988lifeline.org.
To schedule, cancel, or reschedule an appointment, please call VTMHI at 804-214-6770. Cancellations require at least a 24 business hours (Monday to Friday) notification.
To cancel or reschedule an appointment, please call (804) 214-6770 at least 24 business hours (Monday to Friday) prior to your appointment time. It is very important for your wellbeing to keep scheduled appointments. If you are not able to make an appointment, we ask for as much notice as possible so that we may give the appointment to another patient in need.
If you are more than 15 minutes late, your appointment may need to be rescheduled to another time.
Your therapist has reserved time specifically for you and your care. If you have last-minute cancellations or no-shows for an appointment, we may need to reconsider your participation in this free service.
Your therapist may be completing requirements to receive a license and is supported by a clinical supervisor. As part of the support your therapist receives, the clinical supervisor may observe your sessions. Your therapist will tell you if or when this will happen.
Your therapist will share with you the clinical supervisor’s name and contact information.
When you have your visit, you must be located in Virginia as that is where your provider is licensed to provide care. If you are not able to be in Virginia during a scheduled appointment, please contact your care coordinator as soon as possible to reschedule.
So that your appointment is effective, safe, and a good experience, we ask that you:
- Hold the visit in an area that is quiet and gives you privacy.
- Notify the provider of anyone else in the visit area.
- Leave your camera on during the appointment.
- Not record the session.
- Dress as if you were having a visit in person.
- Maintain a safe environment –
- Do not engage in another activity at the same time, such as driving.
- Ensure no weapons are in the visit area during the session.
- Refrain from using drugs or alcohol before or during the visit.
For your safety, you may not participate in a teletherapy session while operating a car or other vehicle.
- Free for all services: VTMHI provides teletherapy services at no cost ($0) to the client.
- Referring organizations: The referring clinic will notify you of any fees that you might have to pay for the care you receive there. There is no fee ($0) for the care you receive through VTMHI.
- Referral organizations: If VTMHI refers you to another organization for care, you should ask that organization for a good-faith estimate of the cost of the appointment(s).
You have the right to confidential treatment, which means your name and identifying information will not be given to any person or organization without your written permission. Your therapist will keep a record of your care. The record will include clinical information and progress notes. Progress notes are summaries of your appointments. This record is the property of your therapist. If you want to see it or receive a copy, you can request that in writing.
Your therapist is required by law to report child abuse or neglect and to report the abuse or neglect of an elderly or disabled adult. If your therapist is worried that you are a danger to yourself or someone else, they must act. If that happens, your record may have to be released – for example, if the court orders it.
Your records are stored in a secure, HIPAA-compliant electronic program.
You may address any concerns you have with your therapist. If you have concerns about the therapist or are not comfortable discussing your concerns with them, you may contact VTMHI staff. To file a formal complaint, please see VTMHI’s Complaint Policy.
It is VTMHI’s policy to be aware of and respect the rights of all clients. VTMHI embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as foundational values to direct policy development, workforce integration, and accessible services. VTMHI is welcoming to all with regard to sex, race, color, age, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship, pregnancy or maternity, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable national, federal, state or local law. Our goal is to give the best care to everyone.
Your rights include:
- To receive ethical, quality care
- To be treated with dignity and respect
- To be treated as an individual
- To be a part of decisions about your care
- To ask questions and be informed about your rights
In addition to the rights you have as a client receiving services through VTMHI, there are some responsibilities you have in order to receive the best possible care.
Your responsibilities include:
- To provide truthful and complete information that might be relevant to your treatment
- To treat your therapist and VTMHI staff with dignity and respect
- To participate in decisions related to your care and treatment
- To follow your treatment plan, keep appointments, and notify VTMHI as soon as possible of any scheduling conflicts
- To follow safety procedures and emergency plans
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs – Technology
You’ll need a smartphone, iPad, computer or laptop with a camera and microphone. Headphones may be helpful, too. You’ll also need a reliable internet connection. Plug your device into a power source.
VTMHI clinic partners offer space for patients who need technology support or access for these appointments. Please let your care coordinator or your referring provider know you would like to connect to your appointment from your referring clinic.
If you’re connecting from your own device, you will receive a link to your session 30 minutes prior to your appointment time. This will also allow you to test your video connection and ask any questions. If you have technical difficulties, please call or text 804-214-6770. If you’re connecting from the clinic, the staff will help you. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early.
Before your session, the telehealth program will conduct a quick technology test to make sure everything is working properly. If you have any technical issues, please call or text 804-214-6770.
FAQs – Patient Care
This varies from patient to patient. You and your provider will talk about your goals to determine what works best for you based on what you hope to achieve. Services can be for several weeks or several months. Most patients are scheduled for weekly appointments.
No part of your session will be recorded. For safety and privacy purposes, we also require that patients not record the session.
No. You don’t have to have a teletherapy session if you don’t want to. If you are not interested in teletherapy, please contact your referring clinic.