Expanding the Telepsychiatry Program in Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, WA – The Sea Mar Behavioral Health Clinic in Vancouver, part of the Sea Mar Community Health Centers network, recently expanded its outpatient telepsychiatry program to increase access to psychiatric appointments for people in the Vancouver community seeking mental health treatment.  Prior to the expansion, telepsychiatry services at the Vancouver clinic were available to consumers participating in a specific health plan.  Based on the success of this innovative, new program and the increasing demand for mental health services in the community, Sea Mar is broadening the program to include consumers enrolled in other insurance health plans.

Sea Mar Community Health Centers Expands Telepsychiatry Program in Vancouver, Washington

This telepsychiatry program expansion is launched with longtime partner InSight Telepsychiatry, the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization. Telepsychiatry is a delivery of psychiatry through real time videoconferencing. It is proven to be an effective form of care delivery and a convenient, cost-effective way to safely expand psychiatric support without the challenge of staffing an in-person psychiatry provider.  Patients treated by telepsychiatry provider, Dr. Monica Nichols, can expect the same services and level of care that someone would receive in-person.

Dr. Nichols is a licensed, board certified adult psychiatrist and is fluent in Spanish. Dr. Nichols completed her residencies in psychiatry and pediatrics and her doctorate at the University Of California San Diego School Of Medicine.

Mental health is a top concern in Washington, as many individuals in the state are living with mental health disorders.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 5% of adults in Washington have a mental health condition and only 44% of them receive any form of treatment from either the public system or private providers. The remaining 56% receive no mental health treatment.[1] In fact, Mental Health America ranks Washington 42 out of the 50 states and Washington D.C. for prevalence of mental health and substance use issues.[2]  And, the suicide rate in Washington exceeds the national average, with more than 17 suicides per 100,000 people.[3]

A significant shortage of mental health professionals

Further compounding the problem, there is a significant shortage of mental health professionals in the state, so many residents are not receiving the treatment they need.  In Clark County alone, the ratio of population to mental health providers is 360:1, compared to the state ratio of 330:1.[4] This means that more than 89% of Washington’s population has inadequate access to psychiatry.[5]

“Sea Mar Community Health Centers is committed to providing quality, compassionate, comprehensive care to residents of Washington State, particularly those in underserved communities.  We recognized the need for increased access to psychiatric care and are excited to expand our existing program to make telepsychiatry services available to even more of our patients.  We have been extremely pleased with the service and level of care we’ve received from our telepsychiatry provider, Dr. Nichols, and patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  We’re looking forward to connecting her with even more patients to bring them the mental health care they need and deserve,” said Nicoleta Alb, South Regional Director of Behavioral Health Services.

“Telepsychiatry gives communities unprecedented access to mental health care specialists. We are pleased to partner with Sea Mar Community Health Centers to offer this service.  Telepsychiatry is a great solution, not only in Washington, but also in many other states across the nation where there is significant mental health need and a shortage of psychiatry providers” said Jonathan Posten, Senior Director of Operations at InSight.

 About Sea Mar Community Health Centers

Sea Mar Community Health Centers, founded in 1978, is a community-based organization committed to providing quality, comprehensive health, human, housing, educational and cultural services to diverse communities, specializing in service to Latinos in Washington State. Sea Mar proudly serves all persons without regard to race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, or sexual orientation, and regardless of ability to pay for services. Sea Mar’s network of services includes more than 90 medical, dental, and behavioral health clinics and a wide variety of nutritional, social, and educational services. Learn more at www.seamar.org/.

About InSight Telepsychiatry

InSight is the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization with a mission to increase access to quality behavioral health care through innovative applications of technology.  InSight has over two decades of telepsychiatry experience and serves hundreds of organizations across the country with its on-demand, scheduled services and Inpathy divisions. InSight is uniquely positioned to offer scalable telepsychiatry services in settings across the continuum of care. InSight has a diverse team of psychiatry providers, a robust internal infrastructure and a history of adapting its programs to fit the needs of a variety of different settings and populations.  InSight has led the growth of the telepsychiatry industry and remains an industry thought leader and advocate.  To learn more about telepsychiatry and how it can benefit you or your organization, visit www.InSightTelepsychiatry.com.

[1] Mental Health Resources in Washington. (2019). Rtor.org. Retrieved 15 August 2019, from https://www.rtor.org/directory/mental-health-washington/

[2] Ranking the States. (2015). Mental Health America. Retrieved 2 August 2019, from https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/ranking-states

[3] Suicide Data | Forefront. (2019). Intheforefront.org. Retrieved 15 August 2019, from http://www.intheforefront.org/resources/suicide-data/

[4] (2019). Countyhealthrankings.org. Retrieved 15 August 2019, from https://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/washington/2018/rankings/clark/county/outcomes/overall/snapshot

[5] Mental Health Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). (2019). The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved 15 August 2019, from https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/mental-health-care-health-professional-shortage-areas

Behavioral Care News

The telehealth industry is changing rapidly. Stay informed and get the latest news, events and resources delivered straight to your inbox.

If you are in crisis, call 988 to talk with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, text HOME to 741741 to connect to a free crisis counselor, or go to your nearest emergency room.