The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly caused strife in people’s lives. Routines are being disrupted. Limitations have been set. There is fear, panic, and anxiety.
Those who are seeking behavioral health services through Trinity Health can rest easy, as modern technology – telehealth – has helped to address those issues.
“We’re seeing an increase in patients who are utilizing this service,” explained Heather Sys, MBA, BSN, RN, administrative director of Behavioral Health services at Trinity Health. “Our clinic has not closed. All of our providers are still hard at work.”
Telehealth allows providers and patients to communicate via audio or video visits. Patients connect using their computer, smart phone, or tablet. Sys noted that the providers at Health Center – Riverside have seen an increase in the number of new patients.
“We do fully expect it to increase further as the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic starts hitting people,” she added.
That reality can include feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation, Sys said. “Many people have lost their jobs. Their businesses are being financially burdened. There may be some relationship issues. The kids are at home full time, which kind of changes the family dynamics a bit.”
She noted that some of these issues are not generally related to the pandemic itself, but times of economic or emotional strain. Either way, there is still “the fear of the unknown,” Sys said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen with this.”
Providers are still meeting with new patients face-to-face for an initial assessment, at which time the provider can identify the patient’s needs and develop a plan of care with input from the patient. If it is appropriate, Sys noted, the provider will continue to consult with the patient through telehealth. She added that if someone is in crisis and feels like wanting to harm themselves or others, they should call 9-1-1 or report to the emergency room for an assessment to see if they need a higher level of care.
Depending on insurance, a referral from the patient’s general primary care physician may be needed for sessions with a behavioral healthcare provider. Health Center – Riverside is located at 1900 8th Ave SE, Minot. For more information, call 701-857-5998.