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Mayo Clinic e-tool helps kids with anxiety disorder

Alice Keefe
Updated: May 13, 2020 10:43 PM
Created: May 13, 2020 09:39 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Coupling medicine with technology is not new, and it’s something Dr. Stephen P. H. Whiteside, professor of psychology at Mayo Clinic, has been trying to implement with his patients, kids, for nearly a decade.

“Trying to figure out how to use technology to help deliver child mental health treatment, how to identify kids, and how to get them care and improve the care that they receive,” Dr. Whiteside said.

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Mayo Clinic has been moving in that direction and had much of the groundwork laid.

“And then the COVID-19 crisis occurred, and we stopped doing all appointments, and we were trying to gear up to do video appointments and distance treatments, and I was just trying to figure out how we were going to meet the needs of our kids with anxiety disorders who we could no longer bring into the office and realized that we had built most of the technology already,” Dr. Whiteside said.

Mayo Clinic teamed up with Twin Cities-based tech group The Nerdery, LLC to expand resources for kids and families remotely, putting videos, interactive worksheets, and treatment planning tools in one place online. The website has two parts.

“One is Anxiety Coach, helping kids with anxiety disorders, and the second part is the Family Stress Resource Center, to help families dealing with stress,” Dr. Whiteside said.

So far, he said the feedback has been positive, and while having so many resources online amid the pandemic has been helpful for families, he expects the website to grow and live on even when some semblance of normal returns.

"Anxiety disorders are anxiety disorders whether there’s a pandemic going on or not,” Dr. Whiteside said, emphasizing that mental health issues are common and treatable.


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