It’s ironic that May has been deemed mental health month.
Outside my balcony door the sun is sets below a gradually dimming horizon while a light breeze wrinkles through the curtains. The metal weights fashioned to the bottom of the curtail tinkle against the glass, touched by the faint wind coming in off the Fraser river far in the distance. We’re not on the ground floor, so we get more of it and sometimes sitting out there can get chilly. Birds chirp in nearby trees, and the constant rumble of nearby traffic is not so constant right now. It’s pleasant, though—almost pleasant enough to help us forget about the days and times that aren’t.
Lately, I’ve been counting my blessings. I have this job, which beyond simple money for sustenance gives my days direction, routine and purpose. I have a lovely wife to help when the hours get long. Then there are the smaller things: internet access, good food, netflix, video games, time to work on my passions and good coffee. But even with all of those blessings and privileges in mind, there are still days where the routine breaks, and no amount of food or netflix or video games will satisfy, and I’m faced with the cold hard reality of the present situation.
These are the days where isolation takes a toll.
Those are the days where we have to be content in the knowledge that we’re doing the best we can, and leave it at that. There are plenty of people out there far worse off than we are, and while that shouldn’t necessarily detract or invalidate anything about how we’re personally dealing with everything that comes along with COVID-19, maybe it can put things in perspective.
For folks who maybe aren’t as fortunate, there’s companies like the Centene Corporation (CNC.NYSE), which is going to be providing mental health resources to vulnerable populations during COVID-19. They’re forming local partnerships to enable providers to better support communities enduring higher levels of stress and mental strain caused by grief, loss, economic pressure, unemployment and social isolation weather the storm.
“We must consider the negative toll that the pandemic is taking on the mental health of our communities – especially among underserved communities. We will continue to support these populations across the continuum of care throughout the pandemic and beyond,” said Michael F. Neidorff, chairman, president and CEO of Centene.
Centene is a Fortune 100 company, and a multi-national healthcare enterprise. Their approach uses local brands and local teams to provide high quality and cost effective services to government-sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focused on under-insured and uninsured individuals. If you’re American, there’s a strong possibility than their services may benefit you. The company offers affordable products to nearly 1 in 15 individuals across the nation, including Medicaid and Medicare members as well as individuals and families served by the Health Insurance Marketplace, TRICARE, folks doing time in prison.
As part of this effort Centene is announcing three investments to support the following programs:
- Provider Training and Support – Training for hundreds of clinicians and support for thousands of front-line providers dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and the increase in mental health-related challenges in their practices
- Support for ‘Warmline’ Call Centers – A series of donations to local organizations coping with an increase in demand for their ‘warmlines,’ which provide early interventions to potential mental health crises
- Expanding access to Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) – An investment to help the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH) transition part of their training program to a virtual program, which will enable the training of up to 8,000 MHFA participants over the next year
Centene is partnering with the Allegheny Health Network and the CARES Institute at Rowan University to fund 25 virtual trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) training cohorts, which will help train 600 clinicians. TH-CBT is an treatment for the impact of traumatic experience on child and adolescent mental health.
The effects of COVID-19 are going to last longer than the pandemic itself. Most of us will shuffle it off in time, and maybe find a way to laugh it off as a strange chapter in our lives, but for others, especially those dealing with enhanced mental health issues, it’s not going to be so easy.