Integrity Telehealth hoping to fill the gap in mental health services
As students start to head back to school for a new academic year, they will be doing so in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that will impact the way learning looks for them. And if living and learning during a pandemic wasn’t enough, students also have everyday occurrences in their personal lives that impacts their mental state.
Given these circumstances, Integrity Telehealth wants to be of service in the mental health of students across Arkansas School Districts.
“Mental health is oftentimes not treated with the severity that it needs to be treated with. So many students are underserved or not served at all when it comes to mental health and we want to step in to assist local schools in that matter,” Cliff Preston said.
Cliff Preston, along with his brothers David and Hutch Preston, have years of experience as educators and assisting students, parents and teachers. They also come from a family with a substantial amount of history with education and mental health.
The brothers point to their familial ties as the motivation for starting this endeavor. Their mother left their pastor father when they were young. This family shake-up had a big impact on their father and would solidify the importance of mental health for the Preston family.
“Our dad went and got help. He was able to find people to give him therapy. When he got well, he finished his doctorate degree, became a professional counselor, and opened a clinic in El Dorado,” Cliff Preston said.
“Mental health has always had a stigma. People think something is wrong with you when you seek out help,” David Preston added.
The brothers will be working with the El Dorado, Smackover and Parkers Chapel School districts, and their services will include having a kiosk placed in several schools within each district. Students that are referred for these services will have access to qualified local counselors and therapists.
“Our services will be available to students across different age groups. We want to help students from K-12,” Hutch Preston stated.
But the services will not only be limited to students. The brothers also place an importance on being of help to teachers.
“We want teachers to have access to Integrity TeleHealth as well. When a student loses their life or there is a major event within the school, teachers are mentally impacted as well, so it is important to assist them too,” David Preston said.
The collaboration is also welcomed by the schools themselves. Holly Billings, the Mental Health Coordinator for the El Dorado School District, expressed excitement over the partnership.
“They are so passionate about providing mental health services. And in Arkansas there is such a shortage of mental health providers statewide. So partnering with Integrity TeleHealth was a welcomed partnership,” Billings explained.
David Preston said helping others is what it’s all about.
“Our father taught us the value of trying to help and serve others. That is what we’re trying to do here, to be of service and to take care of as many people as we can. That is our goal and that’s what we’ve done our whole lives,” he said.
This article is originally published on https://www.eldoradonews.com/news/2020/aug/23/integrity-telehealth-hoping-fill-gap-mental-health/
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