We at the William James College INTERFACE Referral Service are keenly aware of the shortage of mental health providers of color and how racial inequities exist in medical and mental health care. The College’s Black Mental Health Academy, Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health, and other programs and academic offerings are playing a critical role in reversing this trend. We invite you to read a statement from our Black Mental Health Graduate Academy Scholars, and to stand with us as allies to drive change and address systemic racism.

Practice guidelines offered when resuming in-person clinical practices during the COVID pandemic (APA, 2020); (NASW, 2020).

Here are some practice guidelines offered by the national psychology and social work professional organizations (American Psychological Association & National Association of Social Workers).

  • Determine need. Review the patient's information (e.g. access to technology, level of risk, worsening mental health condition) to determine if treatment is appropriate through virtual means. Keep in mind that mental health professionals can refuse to see patients face-to-face, especially if they are older or have health conditions, or live with family members who have heightened risk factors. 

 

  • Learn the risks. Review the potential risk factors of patients that may place them or you at a higher risk for contracting the virus (e.g. patient occupation, health conditions, other behaviors).

 

  • Establish new rules. Develop policies on the use of face masks or other PPE for clients and employees. Require clients to take their temperatures before any in-person session to ensure they do not have a fever.

 

  • Rearrange office space. Change office seating and waiting rooms to allow for social distancing. Open windows to increase airflow. Keep hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol in all common areas.

 

  • Adjust practices. Implement an informed consent process. The APA has developed a customizable informed consent template for in-person sessions during the public health emergency