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What to expect and how to prepare for virtual mental health appointments

Mental health providers across the country are continuing to serve their clients through phone and virtual sessions in response to COVID-19. As we temporarily transition the majority of services at Johnson County Mental Health Center to video communication platforms due to recent social distancing requirements here are some helpful tips for clients to consider as they prepare:Decorative: white male sitting in front of a laptop

  • Prior to your first video appointment, talk with your service provider over the phone about your preferences for completing appointments as well as to address any questions or concerns you may have. If your service provider is providing services through Zoom or another virtual service, your service provider will be able to help you get that set up.
  • Do a test of the software beforehand for your peace of mind and to be sure it will work and verify that you have your case manager's or clinician's contact information.
  • Find a place in your home where you'll have as much privacy as possible and will be comfortable for the length of your session.
  • Along those lines, we recommend earbuds or headphones for privacy and also better sound quality. That way your service provider's voice won't feedback into your microphone and out their speakers.
  • Make sure to have your screen on a stable surface, since excessive movement can create a feeling of seasickness.
  • Be sure to close email and turn off notifications that could be distracting and dilute the experience for you. You'll want to have your full attention focused on your session. Also, close programs that could slow down your computer's processing ability and interfere with the quality of the video.
  • Try to have the top of your head near the top of your video screen, rather than in the bottom half of the screen. That way when your service provider's looking at your face they'll be looking more or less into their camera (assuming it's at the top of their computer), so it will feel like they're looking at you.
  • If you are unable or would prefer not to complete appointments via video it may be possible to simply speak by phone. Speak with your service provider to determine the best option for you.
  • A little patience and humor can go a long way with potential technology issues such as delays in audio or video.

If you would like more information on service updates or modifications happening at Johnson County Mental Health Center, visit jocogov.org/mentalhealth.