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UAMS Launches Virtual Mental Health Program

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ AR-Connect call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, answering the needs of Arkansans dealing with any number of mental health issues. The caller is evaluated by a nurse triage team and, if needed, contacted by another medical professional within 24 hours.To maintain social distancing, the contact will either be by phone or live video, depending on the patient’s preference. The virtual clinic operates Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

AR-Connect’s clinical team has been trained to recognize the needs of those dealing with mental issues, whether they are a single parent struggling to support their family or a medical professional on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“AR-Connect came about because of COVID-19 and it has been very helpful for those dealing with the problems it has caused in their lives,” said AMS member G. Richard Smith, M.D., director of the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute and chair of the Department of Psychiatry in the UAMS College of Medicine.

“There are so many people across our state needing help and not knowing where to turn, particularly those worried about the effect COVID-19 is having on them and their loved ones. For them, AR-Connect has been a godsend.”

The goal of AR-Connect is to help those Arkansans needing immediate care get the assistance they need and eventually connect them with treatment options available in their local area. Health insurance is not required to access AR-Connect’s mental-health professionals and patients will not be responsible for any payments outside of what is covered by their insurance plan.

For more information, go to our website: psychiatry.uams.edu/arconnect or email AR-Connect at arconnect@uams.edu. Call (501) 526-3563 or 1-800-482-9921 to speak to a mental health professional.

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