New mental health resources in the midst of uncertainty

Last Modified: 4/01/2020

mental health

Our lives changed overnight, as we woke up to a completely different world. This “new normal” can take a toll, both physically and mentally. Connie Kerrigan, director of outreach, Parkview Behavioral Institute, shared some of the ways Parkview is providing mental health care to the public during this time of social distancing and unfamiliar stress.

How is Parkview Behavioral Institute helping people during the pandemic?

Healthcare has had to adapt very quickly as the situation has continued to escalate. This includes mental healthcare. Just like medical care, we’ve tried to come up with strategies that will allow us to continue connecting with people in meaningful ways, to help them with any mental health needs they may have, including:

  • Phone consults
  • Video chat counseling
  • Small group interactions
  • MyChart E-Visits with medical prescribers
Why is it important to continue and even expand mental health services in times like this?

Mental health is just as important as physical health. It is so important that we are attune to that and help patients stay as healthy as possible during a time of uncertainty. Understanding that added pressures and stress may mean that our patients need to reach out more. Maybe they just need someone to talk to.

There are several people, as you know, who are out of work or working from home. Often, they have their kids at home, too. There have been so many disruptive changes to peoples’ lives. As we weather this storm together, it’s just important that we recognize that whatever we can do to help people is what we want to do.

How have your efforts been perceived by patients?

I think that patients are extremely happy that there’s an option for them. They can see someone virtually and not have to venture out for a doctor appointment or sit in a busy waiting room. However, I do think that there are some people who really miss that close connection with someone they have a strong relationship with. So, it’s a new normal for them as they work to define their relationships in this temporary space that we’re all in.

How do we navigate this stressful new world we are living in and when should we seek help?

I think the same holds true today as it did prior to COVID-19. It’s time to reach out when:

·       It affects your reality - when you can’t do the normal things you enjoy doing

·       You feel more anxious

·       You’re consumed with worry (about the future or about things that might happen)

·       You feel more blue than normal, etc.

Anytime these emotions creep in, during crisis or not, we certainly want you or someone you love to seek help. Don’t be afraid to reach out and speak to someone. We have a HelpLine that people can call to speak with someone, do a screening over the phone and be directed to the correct resource. You don’t have to suffer alone. Reach out and we can help walk you through the situation. It’s key for people to understand that you don’t have to be hemorrhaging to seek care. With mental health, the sooner the better.

Whether you are young or old, single or married, retired or living with an active family of five, find strategies to remain connected in different ways. Maintaining your relationships in creative ways can make a real difference in the way this situation affects us.

Fear and loss are real emotions that we may all feel at some point during this pandemic. Although we are grieving and healing as a country, it’s important to still have hope. We do know that this time and these restrictions are limited, so hold onto that and recognize that we will get through it.

If you or someone you love needs help, call the Parkview Behavioral Health Helpline at 260-373-7500 or 800-284-8439, anytime 24 hours a day.

 

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