Reno-Talkspace partnership offers free mental services to residents
Reno, Nev., has partnered with tele-mental health services provider Talkspace to provide residents free access to virtual mental health counseling.
“The reality is that therapy, that services are accessible to anyone who needs them at this point, throughout the city of Reno, whether it’s a little bit of stress that you’re experiencing or perhaps more severe sort of anxiety or sadness or loss or loneliness,” Dr. Rachel O’Neill, a doctor from Talkspace, told the Nevada Sagebrush.
Dollars from the CARES Act helped fund the partnership, according to a Jan. 28 news release. The program gives Reno residents who sign up for the service one monthly video appointment with a Talkspace therapist, as well as unlimited text, voice and video messaging.
The Talkspace program is a collaboration with Reno as well as the Hopeful Cities program, a project from the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred), according to a Dec. 3, 2020, news release. Reno is the first Hopeful City, whose goal will be creating, maintaining and growing hope across the city, according to the movement’s website.
“Amid this public health pandemic, we face a mental health epidemic too, and expanding access to mental health care is absolutely vital,” Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said in the Jan. 28 news release. “No one should be denied access to mental health care based on ability to pay and I strongly encourage our city’s residents to take advantage of these free services from Talkspace.”
The COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on mental health has been documented. A study published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site shows that in June 2020, U.S. adults reporting anxiety disorder symptoms was about three times the amount reported in Q2 2019. Depression symptoms were about four times as high in June 2020 as they were in Q2 2019.
Moreover, 40.9 percent of respondents to a late June 2020 survey reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral condition, according to the study.
“As the pandemic takes its unrelenting toll on people’s mental and physical health, it’s clear that help is urgently needed and access is more important than ever,” Talkspace Chief Medical Officer Dr. Neil Leibowitz said in the Jan. 28 news release.
“With this partnership with the City of Reno and Hopeful Cities, Talkspace continues its quest to make critical mental health care accessible to all. We are honored to serve the people of Reno when it matters most,” Leibowitz added.