RUSH CITY, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota prisons are turning to telepsychiatry to provide inmates with mental health care.

Telepsychiatry is the provision of psychiatric services via video conferencing services such as Skype or FaceTime.

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Michelle Saari directs the psychological services at the men’s prison in Rush City. She says the prison’s rural location makes having in-person mental health treatment challenging.

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Psychiatrist Edward Kaftarian, who runs a telepsychiatry company in California, says since psychiatrists focus on medication management, in-person sessions are less important compared with therapy.

Psychiatrist Tanuja Reddy is based in Nashville, Tennessee, and treats inmates in Rush City. She tells Minnesota Public Radio News that she can assess and gauge emotions and feelings through the screen. She notes that effectiveness relies on the position of the camera and a strong internet connection.

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