Don Napier II, LISW-CP on Prioritizing Accessibility and Inclusivity in Behavioral Health Care

Don Napier II, LISW-CP on Prioritizing Accessibility and Inclusivity in Behavioral Health Care

Iris clinicians are at the heart of what makes our organization such a special place to work. That’s why we’re turning the spotlight on the amazing work they’re doing every day. This month, we’re sitting down to talk with our own Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Don C. Napier II, LISW-CP. 

Q. How did you find Iris and decide you wanted to be an Iris provider? 

A. Before transitioning to my current role, I found myself juggling multiple hats – a position like what I do now and managing my own private practice.  

Needless to say, this arrangement left me with very little time for myself or my family. On top of that, the constant travel demands of my role stretched my already thin schedule even further.  

However, my experience with telehealth was a game-changer. Not only did it offer me the flexibility I desperately needed, but it also opened my eyes to the significant access it provided to underserved patient populations. 

After witnessing the positive impact firsthand, I made the decision to investigate a complete transition into telehealth. That’s when I stumbled upon Iris Telehealth.  

Their unwavering commitment to making mental health services more accessible struck a chord with me. Their dedication to closing the gaps in care and ensuring the well-being of both providers and patients resonated deeply. It was clear that Iris shared my passion for mental health care, and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it. 

Q. What did your entry into Iris Telehealth look like? 

A. When I started with Iris, my experience differed slightly from that of most clinicians. During the recruitment process, the clinic partner I was assigned to had delayed my onboarding for three months.   

Rather than leave me in limbo, the clinical hiring team graciously allowed me to briefly join their team. It turned out to be an invaluable experience, as it gave me insight into the meticulous dedication that department puts into matching the right clinician with the right clinic partner. 

Once my official onboarding began, everything fell into place seamlessly. The IT team had all systems up and running smoothly on my first day, enabling me to start seeing patients immediately.   

Furthermore, thanks to the efficient work of the Medical Staff Services team, my licensing and credentialing were already completed. This streamlined onboarding process allowed me to focus entirely on my patients from day one, without the burden of worrying about administrative paperwork. 

Q. How has your role evolved at Iris? 

A. I initially joined Iris as a clinician within one of our hospital systems. Having served in clinical leadership roles for an extended period of time, the transition back to direct patient care was a revitalizing experience. It reignited my passion and served as a poignant reminder of the meaningful impact we have on patients’ lives every day. 

As Iris expanded, particularly in the realm of psychotherapy, I was afforded the opportunity to not only continue my direct practice but also to support our clinicians across the organization. This presented an exciting chance to empower our colleagues and enhance their effectiveness in patient care.  

Each site we operate in is unique, with diverse demographics and challenges. Collaborating with our clinicians to overcome these obstacles and ensure patients receive the mental health care they deserve is immensely rewarding. 

Q. What are the benefits of being a telehealth provider? 

A. As a member of the Iris Telehealth team, I’ve seen firsthand the remarkable benefits of telehealth in mental health care. Through our clinic partners, I can reach individuals in remote areas, providing vital support that might otherwise be inaccessible.   

Telehealth’s convenience is undeniable. Eliminating travel requirements makes therapy more accessible and scheduling more flexible, enhancing client engagement and continuity of care. The reach of telehealth extends far beyond physical limitations. With Iris Telehealth, I can connect with diverse clients, contributing to broader mental health awareness and reducing stigma.  

Embracing telehealth has also fostered professional growth, requiring me to adapt and develop new skills to better serve our clients. Overall, as a telehealth provider with Iris Telehealth, I’m proud to deliver compassionate and effective care to those in need, while enjoying the flexibility and fulfillment this mode of practice offers. 

Q. How can telehealth providers foster connection with patients virtually? 

A. When I first started offering telehealth services, I had significant concerns about whether clinicians and patients could establish the necessary therapeutic relationship through a phone or computer screen. Would we, as clinicians, have access to the same cues like body language and non-verbal communication that we rely on in face-to-face sessions? 

To my pleasant surprise, the transition was smoother than I anticipated.  

Not only did telehealth make care more accessible to patients, but they also seemed much more at ease in their own environments. In traditional clinical settings, it often takes time for patients to acclimate and feel comfortable enough to open up.  

However, I’ve found that patients tend to share more readily from the comfort of their own homes, leading to a more efficient therapeutic process. 

Q. As a healthcare professional, how do you manage work-life balance? 

A. As a clinician, especially in private practice, work-life balance can be a very difficult tight rope to walk.  Although I had full control over my schedule and workload, it also required significant time and effort to handle administrative tasks, marketing, and managing patient bookings.   

This level of autonomy can sometime blur the boundaries between work and personal life, leading to potential challenges in achieving a healthy balance.  

On the other hand, working at Iris Telehealth provides a structure framework where administrative tasks are largely taken care of by our clinic partners. This structure allows me to focus more on patient care and less on the logistical aspects of the organization. Additionally, telehealth offers greater flexibility in scheduling and location, which can significantly help facilitate a better balance between work and personal life.     

Q. What are your biggest learnings from your time at Iris? 

A. During my time at Iris Telehealth, I’ve learned invaluable lessons that have shaped my approach to mental healthcare. 

I’ve realized the critical importance of accessibility and inclusivity in reaching underserved populations. Additionally, embracing telehealth has shown me the transformative power of technology in delivering personalized and innovative treatment.  

Collaborating with passionate colleagues has reinforced the value of teamwork, while navigating challenges has taught me adaptability and resilience. Overall, my experience at Iris has deepened my understanding of mental health delivery, equipping me with the skills to better serve my clients and community. 

Q.  What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

A. The most rewarding part of my job as a telehealth psychotherapist at Iris Telehealth is witnessing the positive impact I have on my clients’ lives. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see them make progress, gain insight, and overcome challenges they’re facing. Building a trusting therapeutic relationship and being a supportive presence in their journey towards mental wellness brings me immense satisfaction. 

Moreover, knowing that I’m able to provide accessible mental health care through telehealth adds another layer of fulfillment. Many of my clients might not have sought therapy otherwise due to barriers like location, mobility issues, or busy schedules.  

Being part of a company like Iris Telehealth that prioritizes accessibility and inclusivity in mental health care allows me to reach individuals who need support the most. 

Overall, the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives and contribute to their well-being is the most rewarding aspect of my role with Iris Telehealth. 

Q. What do you love about working with Iris? 

A. There are several aspects of working for Iris Telehealth that I truly love.   

Firstly, I appreciate the company’s commitment to innovation and leveraging technology to improve mental health care delivery.  Being part of a forward-thinking organization that embraces telehealth allows me to provide convenient and accessible therapy to a diverse range of clients.    

Iris fosters a supportive and collaborative work environment. I value the sense of camaraderie among my colleagues and the opportunities for ongoing professional development and learning.  

The company prioritizes the well-being of its providers, offering resources and support to ensure we can deliver the highest quality of care while maintaining our own mental health. Iris’ dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion in both its workforce and the services it provides is evident in everything we do. It’s empowering to be part of a company that values and celebrates differences, ensuring that mental health care is accessible and culturally sensitive to all individuals. 

Q. Why do you think telehealth is important to the future of mental healthcare? 

A. Telehealth, especially with an organization like Iris Telehealth, is essential for the future of mental healthcare due to its ability to improve access, flexibility, and continuity of care. By breaking down geographical barriers, offering convenience, and enabling remote therapy, telehealth ensures more people can access therapy when they need it.   

Additionally, it helps address provider shortages and promotes innovation in treatment modalities.  Overall, telehealth, exemplified by Iris’ services, enhances the accessibility and effectiveness of mental health services, making it a crucial component of the future of healthcare. 

At Iris, we believe our providers should be respected, valued, and applauded for the work they do, and we couldn’t be more proud to say, “thank you” to our very own Don Napier II. If you’d like to learn more about working for Iris Telehealth, contact us today. 

We want to hear from you. Seriously.

Whether you are a health organization looking to expand your telepsychiatry services or a prospective clinician who wants to join the team, we’d love to talk!