COVID-19 anxiety overwhelming mental health support system

Mar 30, 2020

Pine Rest Christian Mental Services
Credit Pine Rest Christian Mental Services

Social distancing and the spread of COVID-19 is heightening anxiety. Pine Rest Christian Mental Services is experiencing an increase in patients seeking telehealth appointments. Pine Rest began transitioning from in-clinic to telemedicine appointments beginning March 17th. In an average month, it assists more than 400 patients. The COVID-19 pandemic has spiked telehealth visits to 700 per day or 3,500 a week. “I don’t think I’ve I had a client that I’ve talked to that has not had concerns about COVID in some way.” Jean Holthaus is Pine Rest Telehealth Clinic Manager. “We don’t like it when we don’t know for sure what’s going to happen to us and when there are unknowns it creates anxiety for us. And then, everybody’s schedules have changed so we’re also all stressed. So, people are calling about those things as well.” What can we do to alleviate the anxiety? Live in the moment. “Our brain can create all sorts of scenarios. But if you look at the moment you’re currently in, for most of us it’s a manageable moment. So, if we can keep ourselves grounded to what’s really going on right now, and I’ve got to manage the right now, and I’ll deal with the future when I get to it, but I can’t deal with it right.” Meeting the “right now” demand are 250 therapists and 60 psychiatrists. Pine Rest is hiring more clinicians to meet the high-call volume. I’m Patrick Center