The Reno City Council today approved $1.3 million in CARES Act funding for all Reno residents to use the Talkspace app free of charge. Talkspace is an online therapy service that allows users to text, call or FaceTime with therapists.
Many criticized the effort, saying the money should be used locally, but the council left open the option to use an additional $1.7 million, earmarked for mental health, for local services.
That could include a proposal being floated by a group of local therapists or funding for the city’s Mobile Outreach Safety Team, said Mayor Hillary Schieve. The deadline to use the CARES Act money, however, is the end of this month.
The agreement with Talkspace gives to any Reno resident, age 13 or older, free service worth $316 per month. The company agreed to also use $200,000 of its own funds to market the service in Reno.
Services could be available within five business days, company representatives said today. One live video counseling session is included per person, per month. The company reiterated its services are HIPAA compliant and the company will use Nevada-licensed therapists.