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Agency looks to fill mental health needs in rural Nebraska | KRVN Radio

Agency looks to fill mental health needs in rural Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. – Nebraska health officials are exploring how to use technology to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment for rural patients who must otherwise travel for hours to access behavioral health care.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services released a report last week assessing the state’s behavioral health needs.

The department’s deputy director, Linda Wittmuss, says data pulled from census statistics, studies, focus groups and surveys will inform the department’s strategy from 2017 to 2020.

She says the plan will include innovative ways to use technology. For example, through telehealth, a patient could talk to a doctor on a screen for medication management consultations or follow-up therapy sessions through a webcam.

Dr. Joseph Evans, assistant clinical director of the Behavioral Health
Education Center of Nebraska, says telehealth has become a national movement.

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