On the Menu: Free Mental Health Therapy Online for Restaurant Workers

Carla Sharp, professor of psychology and director of clinical training, supervises Anthony Gioia in the same manner he visits with clients – online.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays clinical psychology doctoral candidate Anthony Gioia flips on his computer, goes to a secure website, logs in and starts counseling clients. It’s part of a new University of Houston program offering free mental health care to Texas-based food and beverage employees and their children.

“There are many silver linings that come with COVID. One of them is that it forced us to very quickly transition our platforms to telehealth so that we can accommodate clients who, in the past, would not have been able to access therapy,” said Carla Sharp, professor of psychology and director of clinical training – one of two faculty members who supervise graduate student therapists throughout their sessions. John P. Vincent, professor of psychology and director of the UH Center for Forensic Psychology, also supervises.

The telehealth sessions represent perfect timing for one of the most severely hit industries during the pandemic – the restaurant sector.

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