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City of Reno approves program to provide free mental health services

Published: Dec. 5, 2020 at 12:16 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - While we see a record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases in Northern Nevada, we are also witnessing a spike in another disease known as mental illness.

The city Of Reno became the first in the country to provide this magnitude of critical services that could help save lives free of charge.

Leaders approved the use of Cares Act Funds to partner with a program called Talkspace. Providing more than 200,000 residents, 13 years of age or older, with teletherapy mental health services.

Naomi Duerr, Reno City Councilmember said as we continue losing loved ones, jobs, homes and so much more we need to be mindful of the mental toll this can create.

“We have had a number of youth commit suicide and we have certainly been concerned with opioid use and other drugs,” Duerr said.

She added that these services are long overdue.

To sign up for the process is relatively simple, you download the Talkspace app on your phone, fill out a questionnaire to match you to your therapist, then you meet virtually and get the help and guidance from trained professionals.

“We shouldn’t have to get to the absolute lowest point in our lives in order to find someone who can help us, that help should be there much earlier and we should have that support,” said Dr. Rachel O’Neil.

Dr. O’Neil, Talkspace Director of Clinical Effectiveness, is also a therapist providing care through this platform and she says it’s crucial we all prioritize mental health.

“This is a great way to say what you need to say, have a nonjudgemental person that will help you navigate what you need to navigate,” O’Neil said.

Currently, face to face interactions are rare, but that doesn’t mean help isn’t available. it is as simple as just picking up the phone and making sure you and those you care about are doing ok.

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