COVID-19 and Mental Health

By: Jodi Daly, Ph.D., President and CEO

In the middle of the ever-changing environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Comprehensive Healthcare continues to strive to meet the needs of our clients and our community partners.

Due to this public health emergency, and the accompanying physical isolation measures, individuals may experience heightened depression, anxiety and loss. Access to trained and compassionate mental health professionals is critical for the health of our communities.

This pandemic has also challenged our service delivery, and may potentially change the industry for years to come. We are digging deep, staying true to our mission of delivering innovative healthcare, and finding creative ways to continue to provide behavioral healthcare for our clients. We are maximizing the use of telehealth, redeploying staff to ensure patients are receiving support in their homes, and contacting at-risk clients multiple times a week to confirm that they are safe and that their needs are being met. Since 1970, through every economic crisis and national disaster,

Comprehensive Healthcare has served the Greater Columbia Region and surrounding communities through the provision of quality behavioral health services, and we will continue to do so in 2020.

As we strive to ensure care is provided to our clients, we will also continue to advocate for increased access to behavioral healthcare, and increase awareness among our communities—reiterating the message that behavioral health care is health care. Although it is often discriminated against, behavioral health does not discriminate. Social and economic disparities among individuals with mental health disorders are great. This pandemic has stressed our healthcare system nationally and has shown us where our weaknesses lie. Access to quality healthcare is critical, and the emotional stresses and strains we are all experiencing demonstrate how vitally important behavioral healthcare is at this time. Behavioral healthcare providers are essential workers. This means that any interruption or termination of our service could present a clear and present danger to the health and safety of individuals in our communities.

Mental Health Awareness Month was an opportunity for us to honor our remarkable employees. While many organizations have had to limit their services during the pandemic, or shut down altogether, we have asked our staff to work hard—both from home and in our facilities—lean in, be flexible, and find new ways to provide care. Their work environments have been altered and disrupted by this outbreak, and they have had to set aside their personal stress to ensure our community’s behavioral health needs are being attended to. Our communities can honor them by remembering that mental health and substance use disorder services are essential to the health of our communities. We can honor them, and better serve our communities, by remembering that the importance of Mental Health Awareness extends far beyond the month of May.

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