When we made the difficult decision to stop in-person counseling and acupuncture in mid-March, and transition to a telehealth platform, we saw a big drop in client appointments. And we were worried about our clients and about our community. The pandemic is hard on all of us, but for so many it has been absolutely tragic, heart breaking, and overwhelming. Because we had open appointment times, we offered as many free services as we could. And we waited with trepidation, because experts everywhere were predicting a mental health crisis due to increased unemployment, the grief, fear and isolation of the pandemic, and the resulting increase in anxiety, depression, domestic violence, substance abuse and suicide deaths.
The biggest challenge we face now is how to reach and care for the most vulnerable families in our community. Health disparity for people of color is not a new issue, but the inequality has been magnified and demonstrated in painful ways during this pandemic. We are searching for answers and we’re committed to finding new solutions.
After four months of telehealth, we’ve started meeting in small virtual groups to discuss how the needs of our clients and community has changed. Children, teens and adults are unable to socialize. Parents are acting as teachers, and there is uncertainty and fear about the start of school. We’re reaching out to agencies and partners in the community and asking, “how can Samaritan Center fill gaps in mental and emotional health? What do we need to do differently?” And we’re brainstorming about how to meet those needs in innovative, non-traditional ways, because nothing about this pandemic is “traditional.”
In the last few days, we’ve had to start a wait list. And it’s growing daily. It is time to increase capacity. We are searching for talented individuals to join us and help us reach our most vulnerable neighbors and minimize the mental health crisis in our community.
If you are interested in helping, I hope you’ll contact me using the form below. We’re all in this together and together we’ll find solutions. We’re growing in size, in thought, in impact.
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