The COVID-19 outbreak, and the ongoing response to it, has had a significant impact on Americans’ mental health. Here is a look at how behavioral health providers around the country are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
Expanded Telehealth in Massachusetts Helping Adult and Children’s Mental Health
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker implemented emergency regulations in response to the coronavirus, including expanded access to telehealth to reduce the need for in-person appointments. Behavioral health providers say that this helps both adults and children reduce stress and increase resiliency to deal with the ways that COVID-19 has changed daily life
More behavioral health providers in the state are now offering telehealth appointments. This can help those clients with social anxiety, or those with physical disabilities or transportation issues. Faster, more convenient access to behavioral health can also help those who struggle with anxiety or feel disconnected or depressed.
Texas Launches Mental Health Line for COVID-19
Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24-hour mental health support line for those who struggle with psychological or emotional challenges related to the coronavirus outbreak. The support line, operated by the Harris Center for Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services, provides confidential, trauma-informed support and psychological first aid to those experiencing stress and anxiety related to COVID-19. This resource is available for all Texans at 833-986-1919.
Idaho Behavioral Health Experts Remain Available in Pandemic
Because telehealth may not be appropriate for all cases, many behavioral health facilities remain open and available during the coronavirus pandemic. Cottonwood Creek Behavioral Hospital in Meridian, Idaho, for example, is still accepting patients and admissions, and is offering resources for those in need. The hospital also has a 24/7 helpline for people who are wondering if they should be seen by a behavioral health professional.
The hospital is screening all patients and staff and performing infection-control measures.
Anyone who has recently traveled out of the country, or shows any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as cough or fever, will be asked to first seek medical attention before being admitted into Cottonwood Creek. Providers recommend that individuals watch out for suicidal thoughts, lack of motivation or interest, reduced functioning, and feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness in adults and children.
North Carolina Makes $30 Million Available for Behavioral Health
North Carolina’s seven Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) for behavioral health will receive $30 million to maintain a variety of programs during the COVID-19 crisis. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, this money represents unused Medicaid funds. The LME/MCOS manage care for beneficiaries who receive mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services.
The department has warned local providers to try their best to keep their clients out of hospitals, to help free up bed space and equipment for possible COVID-19 cases. The state has also announced that it is updating policies to waive many face-to-face provider requirements.
Behavioral health and addiction treatment solution
If you are a behavioral health or addiction treatment provider looking to move to telehealth, or simply struggling to keep up with increased demand for behavioral services, BestNotes EHR has resources that can help you streamline your practice and improve patient outcomes. Contact us today to learn more about our behavioral health solutions.