Youth and Family Services providing virtual therapy for clients

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The COVID-19 pandemic has made in-person therapy a challenge for those struggling with mental health issues. But Youth and Family Services is able to do some therapy in person and are finding new ways to provide therapy virtually.

When it comes to younger children, virtual therapy may not be as effective as it has been with older kids and adults, which is why YFS works with the parents to provide those therapy services. Adapting to the pandemic and finding new ways to deliver mental health services to the community has been a top priority for Youth and Family Services.

Director of Mental Health and Prevention Services, Maureen Murray, said, “With Zoom and virtual therapy rooms were able to in some ways, do virtually everything that we would normally do in an in-person therapy”

YFS, courtesy Facebook

YFS, courtesy Facebook

In addition to virtual appointments, YFS has created virtual therapy rooms. Virtual therapy rooms include play and art therapy, as well as sand tray work and other things to help clients take their mind off of things.

“And with Zoom we can give the control over to the client and they can manage some of those activities, so it works really well with some of the population, and some youth do not handle it as well,” said Maureen Murray.

Secondary adversities such as food or financial insecurity are starting to take their toll on families who were already struggling before the pandemic, especially for younger children.

Maureen also said, “That takes its toll; those kinds of adversities take their toll. It doesn’t feel safe then for youth because their future isn’t secure.”

One of the in-person therapy options that Youth and Family Services offers is equine therapy. This allows for social interaction with other people but also provides positives benefits from interacting with animals.

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