Mental Health Services During COVID-19
By: Chrissy Holm, EdD-CMHC, SP specialization student
Now that it’s been a few weeks into quarantine, the dust has theoretically settled. Well, at least a little. As I’m currently in my clinical internship year for the UWS clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) program, I can thankfully report that my internship site, Care Counseling in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has finished transitioning over to all telehealth psychotherapy sessions. Now that we are all in our new routine of working from home, I’d like to carve out some time for gratitude and recognition for our wonderful university.
As an online student, I have become quite familiar with Zoom. Not only has this portion of my program been extremely convenient, it also prepared me very well for COVID-19. In September 2019, I took on the task of researching best practices for telehealth, and creating as well as delivering a telehealth training program for 35+ clinicians at my internship site. Not only was I able to teach an important skill to my colleagues, but I felt proud to be an ambassador of UWS in this way.
Flash forward to March 2020 with new COVID-19 precautions, stay-at-home orders, etc., that required most professionals to shift quickly to working remotely. Many therapists scrambled to secure HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms, figure out how to work technology, and adjust to connecting with clients in new ways through a device. However, not only had my site been utilizing telehealth smoothly for months, but we had the bandwidth to also create a COVID-19 telehealth resource library that we shared with thousands of providers in our community. If you would like to check these resources out yourself, please do! https://care-clinics.com/covid-19/
I say all of this to highlight how fortunate I feel to have been able to leverage online learning and help many people adjust successfully to these unprecedented times. I think that online learning requires students to be particularly driven, independent and resourceful. COVID-19 has required similar qualities to “thrive” in this new environment. I felt uniquely prepared to take on this challenge thanks to my amazing professors and peers in the UWS CMHC and sport and performance psychology programs. Now more than ever, we are reminded about the importance of collaboration and flexibility. Each and every one of us have something unique to contribute and sometimes it takes a bit of courage to step forward and give a helping hand. During this time of uncertainty, it will take new ideas, fresh initiatives and an element of bravery to come through on the other end stronger than ever. I encourage everyone to think of how they might be able to connect with someone outside of their comfort zone and see where it leads.