A couple of nights ago, our little Telepsych Program that Could reached a major milestone.
We saw our 16,000th consult patient in the state of South Carolina.
The Telepsychiatry Program in the SC Department of Mental Health has been going strong for almost six years now, and things just get busier and busier. Some days I come to work and there are ten consults queued up to be seen in various emergency departments around the state. Other days there have been as many as thirty. As I have mentioned previously, each consult, much like a “real” consult on the floor of a hospital, might take anywhere from one hour to two hours or more to complete, from record review to on-camera interview to typing the actual report to be sent to the requesting hospital.
This milestone gives me pause and makes me think, again, about several very real issues.
2) Many people have access to mental health services only through their local emergency rooms.
3) Telepsychiatry is filling a need in my state, and is expanding around the country.
I have worked in the mental health field for twenty seven years, and I hope to be actively involved in the provision of mental health services to those who need them most for many years to come.
The illness is real.
The sheer volume of work is sometimes overwhelming.
The rewards for a job well done are many.
Congratulations to my colleagues in telepsychiatry for reaching this major milestone in our program. I am honored to work with you as we try to provide the best mental health care possible for the citizens of South Carolina.