After the COVID-19 pandemic, a state shutdown, mass unemployment and disruption of school and family life comes Isaias, one of the most devastating tropical storms to hit Connecticut since Sandy in 2012. Enough is enough.
“This sort of disaster over the last 24 hours has absolutely pushed some people to their limits,” said Patricia Rehmer, president of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, at a press conference Aug. 5, a day after more than 715,000 Connecticut households lost power when Iasias swept through the state. “So we’re really encouraging people to think about the coping skills that have worked in the past.”
The message from behavioral health professionals is simple: Stick with what has worked for you in the past.
“If you’re somebody who’s been a runner and you can get out and run safely,” said Rehmer. “If you’re somebody who has taken yoga classes — there are certainly yoga classes online that people can do. It’s really critical to try to find positive coping mechanisms as opposed to some negative ones that could come back fairly quickly. One of the things we’re concerned about and seeing a bit of is individuals with substance-use issues relapsing even after years and years of sobriety.”
The number of fatal drug overdoses reached a record number last year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and public health experts anticipate it could increase this year because of the pandemic.
“It’s very important that people remain vigilant about what they’re experiencing and what they’re feeling,” said Rehmer, “so that they can reach out for help if they do need it.”
Hartford HealthCare continues to offer help to anyone who needs it through its Community Care Center Hotline, available 24 hours a day at 860.972.8100. You can talk to a clinician who can also refer you to behavioral health services throughout the state either in person or virtually.
Here are some common issues during COVID-19:
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- job loss
- uncertainty about school.
A call to the hotline can also help answer questions about:
- managing emotions
- mental health support
- substance use issues
- medical issues and concerns about covid-19.
More than 135,000 people have called the hotline during the health crisis.
“I think it’s 48 percent of the people in the state of Connecticut are without power,” said Jeff Flaks, Hartford HealthCare’s President and CEO, “so please, if people are in need, and if we can help, call this number and we will do whatever we can.”
The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network is now scheduling virtual-health visits for mental health and addiction services. Call your provider for details. New patients can schedule a virtual visit by calling 1.888.984.2408.
For more information on the programs and services available through the Behavioral Health Network, click here.
Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.
Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care provider.
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