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Protect your mental health - Counsellor urges persons to utilise tele-mental health services

Published:Wednesday | August 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill/Gleaner Writer

Everyone has the power within them to turn their life around, according to Debi Douglas, licensed mental health counsellor in Florida. Douglas, who is also a licensed associate psychologist in Jamaica, said that a new definition of one's self can brings new possibilities.

"Once you can see these new possibilities, you can decide what you now want to experience. This is a clear, concise vision of what you desire to create for yourself that is markedly different from what you have been experiencing. You must see and believe in a completely new you so that life can harmonise with this vision," she said.

Douglas has encouraged persons to turn their lives around with counselling delivered at a distance through telemental health services. Through a secure, safe and confidential portal, tele-counselling may be provided from your own private location. Services include individual and couples counselling with expertise in relationships, anxiety, depression, and anger management.

"Through the Health Insurance, Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we have to ensure we protect our clients' information. While the clients can stay in an area that they find suitable, we have to ensure and comply with the regulations regarding this practice. My computer has to be encrypted with the client's computer, ensuring confidentially over the World Wide Web," Douglas said.

A board-certified telemental- health provider, Douglas indicated that for some persons, their mental health may be more challenging. However, with the right combination of treatment, individuals can make peace with their past.

"Once a consultation is done with the client to ensure that I am the right fit for them, then an email message is sent to invite the client to set up their profile through a secure client portal that is HIPAA-approved. The client then registers through the secure client portal where they will have access to secure communication, schedules and appointments," she said.

Mental health, she said, is an issue that is spiralling out of control around the world, and many persons have unresolved issues that are not being processed and they need professional help.

"It is not a quick-fix situation. So many of my clients tell me that when they have someone to talk to, it is a refreshing experience. When people realise there is hope and they can change their way of thinking by talking about it and finding workable solutions, their lives become a lot easier," Douglas said.

However, Douglas also says that telemental health services are not for everyone, especially persons with severe mental-health issues, unless they are being treated by a mental-health professional who is easily accessible.

"Moderate -to high-functioning clients can take advantage of tele-mental health services. Through this medium, we are able to determine the source of the problem, understand the issues, process it and recognise the triggers and determine how the client can reduce and manage it," she said.

For more information about tele-mental health services, visit Douglas' website: or send her an email