The Future Is Now with Telepresence

Most of us are familiar with telehealth or telemedicine––the provision of healthcare through technology. Someone living in far rural Minnesota, could, for example, access a psychiatrist from Duluth via telemedicine. Someone who’s heart needs to be monitored may do so electronically through the phone without visiting the doctor’s office.  Telepresence, on the other hand, offers a difference experience, and it’s what the Miller-Dwan Foundation specializes in.

Telepresence is a set of high-quality sound and sight technologies that allow people to feel as if they’re all in the same room together. And it’s what’s been allowing Lori Thrun, Amberwing’s Family Resource Center Manager, to teach critical coping skills to students throughout the region.

Several schools in the Miller-Dwan Foundation service region have learned Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills. DBT skills, originally developed to help those suffering with serious mental illness, can be used by anyone in any situation. The skills are divided up into learning sections: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation. In a school setting, via telepresence, these skills can be utilized by students and teachers whether they’re struggling with mental health problems or not. The skills are the same skills used at the Miller-Dwan Foundation’s Amberwing – Center for Youth & Family Well-Being. They’re the skills that allow Amberwing student to get back on track. They’re easy to learn and easy to teach making them a perfect fit for telepresence. We’ve even learned them here at the Miller-Dwan Foundation.

So, one day, don’t be surprised if you spot Lori beaming in to a health class up north or a study hour somewhere in northwestern Wisconsin. We truly believe that the more people learn DBT skills in whatever manner they can, the healthier we’ll be.

If you’re interested in learning more about DBT or having a DBT training, contact Lori Thrun at Amberwing at (218) 355-2100.

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Together we will realize our shared vision of a community free from mental health crisis.