Empathy-oriented telephone program benefits adults at risk for mental health problems


February 23, 2021

2 min read


Disclosures: Kahlon and three other authors report grants from Episcopal Health Foundation during the conduct of the study. The other authors report no relevant financial disclosures.


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A layperson-delivered, empathy-oriented telephone call program improved participants’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to results of a randomized clinical trial published in JAMA Psychiatry.

“In March 2020, we became aware of the challenges facing Meals on Wheels Central Texas (MOWCTX) clients because of reduced contact,” Maninder K. Kahlon, PhD, of Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, and colleagues wrote. “In response, we designed a program that could be rapidly spun up and deployed. The telephone call program involves laypeople engaging regularly, with empathetic intention, through telephone calls with participants…

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