NEWBERRY, Mich. (WJMN) – Helen Newberry Joy Hospital will participate in the Responding to Adolescent Depression through Integration and Telemedicine (RAD-IT) program.

The RAD-IT program integrates behavioral health assessments into primary care and helps clinicians use telemedicine to increase behavioral healthcare access. RAD-IT will help expand access to screening, treatment and specialty referrals among the growing numbers of youth struggling with depression in rural areas according to HNJH.

Primary Care Providers at HNJH have received training specific to behavioral health screenings for youth. If additional treatment or counseling is deemed beneficial based on the screening questionnaire, individuals will be able to have telehealth appointments with specialists in the HNJH clinic. Appointments will provide behavioral health resources to youth without having to leave the community.

COVID-19 has significantly impacted the mental health of young people according to HNJH. A recent study of healthcare claims showed that in March and April 2020 mental health claims for people aged 13-19 doubled over the same months in 2019. Rural adolescents will go untreated without the ability to access care via telehealth.

RAD-IT is funded by a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and in partnership with Altarum and the Michigan Center for Rural Health. To make an appointment with an HNJH provider to discuss depression or counseling options, call the Gibson Family Health Clinic in Newberry at (906)-293-9233, the Manistique Lakes Family Clinic In Curtis at (906)-586-3300, or the West Mackinac Health Clinic In Engadine at (906)-477-6066.