Rebooting Mental Health Care Delivery for the COVID-19 Pandemic (and Beyond): Guiding Cautions as Telehealth Enters the Clinical Mainstream

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Across the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed perhaps the field's largest and most abrupt transformation in scope of practice. In the context of surging mental health needs and historically limited feasibility of traditional office-based services during the pandemic, telehealth has launched into the clinical mainstream and has become a dominant mode of outpatient mental health care delivery. The articles in this terrific Special Issue outline some of the field's most exciting innovations from the past 18 months. The present commentary discusses how these unprecedented times have prompted unprecedented resourcefulness and innovation in the field. Issues related to evolving and uncertain telehealth regulation and reimbursement policies are discussed, and cautions for the road ahead are offered as we prepare for post-pandemic practices. The commentary concludes with a call to redouble efforts to move beyond the use of telehealth to largely treat only those populations who already enjoyed access to traditional office-based services. Understanding and overcoming barriers to telehealth care and ensuring equitable access to telehealth options are critical steps for actualizing the great potential of telehealth strategies for increasing the reach of supported care to underserved populations.



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