Helping Stabilize Children and Families from Afar

How CHD’s CBHI Team Has Excelled through Telehealth

Staff of CHD’s Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) services have been keeping in close contact with one another despite physical distancing, and it’s helped them greatly as they continue delivering critical support to those they serve and supporting one another along the way.

The CBHI program, which consists of In-Home Therapy and Therapeutic Mentoring services, has been continuing services through telehealth to keep up with the care plans of the children and families they support. The In-Home Therapy program has been able to continue helping the children and adolescents of over 165 families achieve stability in their mental health and other critical needs, and Therapeutic Mentors have continued working with 96 mentees. Both programs continue to accept new referrals, including self-referrals.

Program Director Sue Sullivan said that when the initial shock of having to change the way they help families entirely wore off, her team was able to quickly adapt, banding together to support one another, both personally and professionally.

“We already have a very close team—a great group of managers, and our staff are amazing people,” Sullivan said. “When we had to suddenly stop doing the work we were used to doing in person and not see our clients and one another face-to-face, I was thinking how this could negatively impact the team, but it did the opposite. They have come even closer together in ways I couldn’t imagine.”

In addition to one-on-one meetings, CBHI’s five managers hold group meetings with all those they supervise, creating a space for teams to continue seeing one another in a way that might resemble the social connectivity of their vibrant office. Early on in the transition, CBHI staff took the initiative to set up a resource chain through eHana, through which they could share helpful tools with one another as they collectively navigate their new work landscape.

“Times like these can bring out the best and the worst in people, and I can proudly say I have seen the best come out of my people. I’m so proud of them all,” Sullivan said.

The CBHI team has had to come up with innovative ways to help the children they serve stay engaged, sometimes mailing workbooks and other tangible resources in preparation for virtual sessions so they can do activities together, as they would normally. This type of innovation has required CBHI to actively plan and structure sessions geared to the individual needs of each child or family days in advance, and simultaneously required having back up plans and keeping quick thinking and adaptability skills at the ready.

“You can’t meet with somebody over telehealth and not have a few back-up plans in place,” Sullivan explained. “We’ve had to be very creative and take planning to an entirely new level. When we return to a more normal time, my staff’s skillset is going to be even more amazing.”

CBHI continues to accept new referrals, including self-referrals, at 1-844-CHD-HELP. Currently, there is little to no wait time. Those who do end up on a wait list will have a very short wait time, and as soon as the referral comes in, a clinical supervisor will be in contact with the family every week, available for support for whatever they may need until a clinician is assigned.