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Special Edition: NAMI Ohio & Ohio Adult Care Facilities Association Newsletter

Special Edition: NAMI Ohio & Ohio Adult Care Facilities Association Newsletter

NAMI Ohio and the Ohio Adult Care Facilities Association recently released a special edition newsletter that includes interviews with adult care home operators about how they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and details the efforts our two organizations have taken to support these homes and residents.

Use the link below to download the PDF version of the full newsletter and please share it with your friends and colleagues.

Download Newsletter PDF

 

COVID-19 & Managing Stress

COVID-19 & Managing Stress

Pandemics can be stressful

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause the following:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Worsening of mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.

Take care of your mental health

You may experience increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

Get immediate help in a crisis

Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health

 

Additional information available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio Commends Governor DeWine for Expanding Telehealth

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio Commends Governor DeWine for Expanding Telehealth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 17, 2020

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio Commends Governor DeWine for Expanding Telehealth

In Response to COVID-19 Crisis, NAMI Ohio appreciates increased access to behavioral health providers as the demand for crisis intervention continues to grow.

Columbus, Ohio – NAMI Ohio applauds this extension of telehealth services that will broaden the ability of people to access counselors, social works and other health professional that will help many endure during the COVID-19 crisis. “The benefits of telehealth since the beginning of the COVID-19 have been immeasurable, with individuals, families and children being able maintain contact with their physicians, counselors and case managers,” said Terry Russell, Executive Director of NAMI Ohio. He also stated, “Crisis hotlines for mental health services have seen a 1000% increase in calls since April with telehealth services being a lifesaving link to those needing access to mental health services and supports.

Governor Mike DeWine signed a new order expanding telehealth in Ohio saying ‘the hopes are that people who need mental, physical and behavioral health can get the help they need with this order.’ DeWine announced the executive order will broaden the ability of people to access counselors, social workers, and marriage and family counselors.

The COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming our communities and our health care system, including adding greater demands for mental health care. Before the telehealth was offered to providers of behavioral health services, a person would have had a face-to-face first meeting, and counselors and social workers would be required to take special training to provide telehealth services. Maintaining access to care and supports is critical for the people with mental health conditions in Ohio, as well as those who may now need help due to isolation, grief, unemployment, increased anxiety, and more resulting from this crisis. Our community needs more mental health care, not less. Like many of the recent changes and use of technology, the use of telehealth has allowed those receiving services to continue getting help toward recovery and treatment while allowing providers a safe alternative to face to face interactions.

Media Contact
Luke Russell
614-224-2700
Luke@namiohio.org

The Epidemic within the Pandemic

The Epidemic within the Pandemic

Co-Authored by Steve Martenet, President, Anthem BCBS in Ohio and Jack Sherman, President of NAMI Ohio

As we’ve flattened the COVID-19 curve in Ohio, we’ve seen disturbing spikes in suicide, depression, substance use disorder, anxiety and other behavioral health concerns. On top of social isolation and more difficult access to our normal support systems, the tragic death of George Floyd and long-overdue public attention to social injustice issues have created a perfect storm of challenges to mental health.  It’s being called the epidemic within the pandemic, a perfect description of the situation we face.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness of Ohio, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio and its Foundation are working together to spotlight these mental health challenges and connect Ohioans to help. One focus of this partnership is NAMI’s “You Are Not Alone” campaign, a national effort to help individuals, organizations and local governments collect and share stories and messages about how inequality, COVID-19, financial insecurity and other stressors impact on our mental health. More information is available at www.NAMI.org/MentalHealthMonth.

PsychHub, Anthem, NAMI and others have also joined forces to offer the COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub, a free resource to help people address mental health needs during COVID-19. Visit https://psychhub.com/covid-19/.

Mental Health Awareness Month was in May, but these issues need year-long attention. The good news is that resources do exist and help is available. And, there may even be silver linings among these storm clouds.

Depression and Anxiety

Nearly half of Americans have reported that the coronavirus crisis has been harmful to their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Certainly, social injustice and inequity are ongoing sources of anxiety for too many Americans. The good news is that rapidly expanded telehealth services have helped meet the needs of individuals seeking help and most Ohio mental healthcare providers are now offering this service.

But an awareness gap remains and people need help getting connected to resources. The Ohio Department of Health has posted information about coping with anxiety and depression on their website at coronavirus.ohio.gov. Ohioans can also connect to trained crisis counselors 24 hours a day at the Ohio Crisis Text Line by texting keyword 4HOPE to 741741. They can also contact the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services Help Line at (877) 275-6364.

Substance Use Disorder

Ohio’s opioid crisis was burning long before recent events threw fuel on the fire. The issue and all forms of substance use disorder have been a top priority for Gov. DeWine, mental health providers, insurers and all Ohioans for years. After years of hard work recognizing SUD as a disease and not a personal weakness, expanding treatment options, curbing prescription drug abuse, and raising awareness, we’d just begun to turn the tide when the past few months presented entirely new barriers for people struggling with substance use disorder.

The Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery organization continues to offer recovery resources, including virtual support meetings for all Ohioans during the pandemic. More information about their services can be found at www.oca-ohio.org.

Suicide

For 20 years, suicide rates have been rising in the U.S., reaching a post-World War II peak just before the pandemic hit. While COVID-19’s full impact on suicide rates remains unknown, we do know that the stressors people are currently experiencing drive suicide numbers up, as housing insecurity, social injustice and unemployment have historically driven higher rates.

For those seeking immediate support, NAMI Ohio offers a county-by-county list of crisis hotlines in Ohio available on their website at https://namiohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Community-Help-and-Crisis-Lines-Updated.pdf.

The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation hosts a network of suicide prevention coalitions across Ohio and they are available to assist anyone in finding resources to ensure their safety. https://www.ohiospf.org/

Silver Linings

There’s no doubt that 2020’s challenges will drive needed change for the future of mental healthcare in Ohio. Perhaps most promising is the fact that mental health is finally taking its place alongside physical health as an equal and intertwined component of our well-being. Use of new technology like telehealth is vastly improving access to behavioral healthcare and overcoming social, economic and transportation barriers. Employers of all sizes are devoting new levels of resources to addressing mental health among their workforce. These hard-earned lessons will not be forgotten and will serve us well long after COVID-19 ebbs and as we continue our journey toward equality.

In the meantime, keep checking on your friends, coworkers and neighbors, and help us spread the word that mental health resources are available in Ohio.  It’s never been more important.