El Futuro’s mental health clinics offered primarily in-person services, save for a telehealth program they’d designed for farmworkers. Now, in early 2021, it’s just the opposite: Thanks to COVID-19, the non-profit has pivoted to offering telehealth services only, with little to no in-person exceptions.

“If you would have told me a year ago that we would be able to function as a clinic doing telehealth, I would have said, ‘That’s not possible,’” said therapist Courtney Crawford, El Futuro’s clinical director. “It’s just amazing how it has become possible.”

El Futuro, a bilingual mental health clinic that serves the Spanish-speaking community, has two clinics — one in Durham and another in Siler City, located on 401 North Ivey Ave. It provides a bundle of bilingual services, including therapy, psychiatry, substance use treatment, and case management, which refers clients to outside agencies to serve other needs, like paying rent.

A year ago, Crawford also wouldn’t have imagined telehealth as El Futuro’s ticket to expansion — yet, that’s what it might prove to be. While schools, community organizations, and medical providers struggled with the digital divide and disengagement, virtual services allowed the not-for-profit El Futuro to expand its reach to those they couldn’t serve before and connect with clients in a new way.

“We’re excited — I’m excited — about getting back in person with people,” Crawford said, adding, “But we’re also excited about thinking about the possibilities for the future. … One of our main goals is to increase services, so provide more mental health services to more people, and telehealth might be a way that we can do that.”

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