TIPS FOR COPING WITH COVID
As the pandemic continues into year two, it will be more
important than ever to stay positive; maintain a healthy
attitude; and proactively care for our physical, mental and
spiritual well-being. Try the tips below, including a few from
staff on the Valley Health Behavioral Health Services team.
Get moving. Maintain your exercise routine since research
shows that physical activity improves mental health. Don't
get a regular workout? Walking 20 minutes every day or
taking an online yoga or stretching class are great options.
Eat well. Including plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains
in your diet improves overall health and helps your body
Connect with friends and family. Reach out to someone who
makes you laugh or who's a good listener if you're having a
rough day. Don't forget to check in with those who live alone.
"Thanks to technology, we don't have to be socially isolated. My
friends and family chat online and schedule time to play trivia
via Zoom. Those things are guaranteed to improve my mood!"
-Bevin Culver, LCSW, SBIRT clinician
Get outside. You can go for a "Sunday drive" almost any time
of year. Head to Skyline Drive or one of the other local scenic
byways for a pick-me-up, compliments of Mother Nature.
Unplug. The endless barrage of social media can be a huge
stressor, so take time to disconnect.
"Try to connect face to face with people in your circle, and
focus on the things in your immediate environment instead of
everything in the news."
-Amanda Hawkins, LCSW-C, Behavioral Health clinician
Do what you love. Enjoy cooking, jigsaw puzzles, a good
mystery, or old movies? Make time for activities that make
you feel good ... or try a new hobby that engages your brain.
"Do something every day that brings you joy, no matter how
small it may seem."
-Lauren Hepler, LCSW, Behavioral Health Integration clinician
"It's often difficult for someone to make a call asking for
help, but if your doctor says, 'Come meet our staff counselor,
maybe you'd find it helpful to talk with her,' there's less
stigma and the care is more accessible," Dorr notes. "It's really
all about prevention. If you reach someone in a primary care
setting and intervene, you may prevent a more serious crisis
in the future."
To further facilitate the integration of behavioral care and
primary care, Valley Health has received grant funding to
launch a program that expands screening, early intervention
and referral services and trains nursing and social work students
at three Valley Health primary care clinics in Berkeley
County, West Virginia. This collaboration with Shepherd
University and the University of Baltimore ensures that our
team better serves patients, prepares the next-generation care
providers, and increases the number of Valley Health practices
that have in-person mental health staff on-site.
PREVENTING SUICIDE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
With funding from another grant, the WMC team will
strengthen suicide and domestic violence prevention services
offered through the Emergency Department. "Over the last six
months, COVID-19 has caused profound economic and social
disruption worldwide, with significant mental health repercussions,
especially among those already at risk for behavioral
health issues and domestic violence,'' Dorr comments. "This
support improves follow-up care for those who are in crisis."
And the new program improves Valley Health's ability to
care for those at low or moderate risk. "Patients don't need
to be in crisis to find benefit in working with a mental health
professional,'' says Dorr. "What is most important is that all
patients leave our hospitals with the resources they need to be
successful and thrive, whether that support is an appointment
with a counselor or a referral to inpatient treatment or other
types of care."
"We are always looking at how we can do things better, and
integrating mental health care into other fields and services
makes more sense now than ever," adds Dr. Nardelli. "As we
deal with the challenges presented by COVID, we need to
remember this is a marathon, not a sprint."
-. Visit valleyhealthlink.com/behavioralhealth for more
WINTER 2021 13