Presidential Executive Order on Saving Lives Through Increased Support For Mental – and Behavioral – Health Needs

Presidential Executive Order on Saving Lives Through Increased Support For Mental – and Behavioral – Health Needs

On October 5, 2020, an Executive Order was signed into law to support the COVID mental health, behavioral health and substance use needs of the American public, both in-person and via telehealth.  As discussed in the Telebehavioral Health Institute’s previous article outlining evidence-based approaches to group therapy via telehealth, the excerpts below describe the need for the order as well as specific sections that directly relate to telehealth. 

covid mental health

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has dedicated billions of dollars and thousands of hours in resources to help Americans, including approximately $425 million in emergency funds to address mental and substance use disorders through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  The pandemic has also exacerbated mental- and behavioral-health conditions as a result of stress from prolonged lockdown orders, lost employment, and social isolation.  Survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that during the last week of June, 40.9 percent of Americans struggled with mental-health or substance-abuse issues and 10.7 percent reported seriously considering suicide.  We must enhance the ability of the Federal Government, as well as its State, local, and Tribal partners, to appropriately address these ongoing mental- and behavioral-health concerns.

Sections of direct relevance to telehealth include these:

Sec2.  Policy.  It is the policy of the United States to prevent suicides, drug-related deaths, and poor behavioral-health outcomes, particularly those that are induced or made worse by prolonged State and local COVID-19 shutdown orders.  I am therefore issuing a national call to action to:

(i)   providing crisis-intervention services to treat those in immediate life-threatening situations; and

(ii)  increasing the availability of and access to quality continuing care following initial crisis resolution to improve behavioral-health outcomes;

(b)  Permit and encourage safe in-person mentorship programs; support-group participation; and attendance at communal facilities, including schools, civic centers, and houses of worship;

(c)  Increase the availability of telehealth and online mental-health and substance-use tools and services; and

(d)  Marshal public and private resources to address deteriorating mental health, such as factors that contribute to prolonged unemployment and social isolation.

Sec5.  Grant Funding for States and Organizations that Permit In-Person Treatment and Recovery Support Activities for Mental and Behavioral Health.  The heads of agencies, in consultation with the Director of OMB, shall take steps to encourage grantees to consider adopting policies…..including:

(i)    Safe in-person and telehealth participation in support groups for people in recovery from substance use disorders, mental-health issues, or other ailments that benefit from communal support; and peer-to-peer services that support underserved communities;

The entire Executive Order can be found here.

The Telebehavioral Health Institute is doing its part by offering a special training program for professionals seeking added clarity about telehealth-based group therapy.  For up to 6 hours of evidence-based professional training that will help put you in the driver’s seat as a telehealth group therapist, register for TBHI’s upcoming Intensive Telehealth Group Therapy Digital Workshop: Experiential Bits & Bytes of Running a Telehealth Group.


Your TBHI Professional Training Options

TBHI specializes in teaching you how to relax when delivering telehealth.  It offers you a step-by-step learning path of online training that helps you be legally and ethically compliant, clinically proficient, and able to handle even the most difficult of clinical scenarios. Take advantage of COVID discount pricing to learn how to sit back and enjoy your telehealth experiences, rather than struggling with ZOOM fatigue and clinical uncertainty. All courses are evidence-based, available 24/7 through any device and most count toward legal and ethical requirements for licensure. Two micro certifications are also available.

    1. Telehealth Group Therapy  — Exciting, highly interactive telehealth learning experience designed to get answers to your questions about legally and ethically managing telehealth group therapy. Digital class will allow you to connect with colleagues ahead of time to ask questions and share answers. Distinguished faculty will lead you through telehealth group therapy theory and exercises.
    2. Telehealth Clinical Best Practices Workshop — Live, interactive webinar, w/ 4 CME or CE hours to discuss preventing and handling complex clinical issues.
    3. Course Catalog
    4. Micro Certifications to give you a broader range of legal and ethical grounding, and allow you to distinguish yourself as a TBHI-credentialed professional on your websites, in social media, directories and other areas.


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