June is PTSD Awareness Month. Here is a look at trigger points of new COVID-19-induced mental health issues
Did you know that Judson Center, a multi-county human service agency providing autism programs, foster care and adoption in tandem with its affiliate, Child Safe Michigan, employment services for persons with disabilities, integrated primary healthcare for all ages, and behavioral health services, is also a newly designated Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC)? We take our role as a CCBHC seriously and are able to take on tough mental health issues to help people achieve optimal emotional health. With June being PTSD awareness month, we are looking at PTSD in a new light in the wake of COVID-19.
Judson Center clinicians are attuned to the potential for PTSD-like symptoms among our clinic population as the nation comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fear wrought by the pandemic is going to be with us for a while, and our behavioral health specialists will be on the lookout for signs of post-pandemic trauma. The symptoms will vary, but we are already seeing some higher levels of anxiety, which will increase in degree for those who personally had COVID-19 or had one or more family members who died from the illness.
Some of the signs of potential COVID-19 PTSD include:
- Avoidance entering work facilities, even with appropriate precautions in place
- Heightened fear of COVID-19 because of a personal connection to death or extreme illness of a loved one who had it
- Detaching from others
- Lack of trust in others out of fear that they are not following safety guidelines/protocols
- Having negative thoughts of the world or the work environment
- High level of stress/anxiety with integrating back to work
- Experiencing emotional distress when thinking about leaving home
- For those that have experienced loss, added grief, sadness, and memories of the experience
- Flashback type fears associated with constant news coverage about the ravages of COVID-19
New challenges for employees returning to the workplace
There are also new challenges for employees adjusting to back-to-work environments. Specifically, polarized opinions on the seriousness of the pandemic can lead to a division among staff at any type of workplace and can fracture a team approach that may have previously been strong. Every individual brings their personal experiences to the workplace, regardless of where they work or the type of work they do. For those in healthcare, it can be even more difficult in the era of COVID-19 because the field requires putting others first and leaving ‘our own stuff’ at the door.
Getting ahead of the issue, Judson Center’s Behavioral Health supervisory team facilitated weekly virtual ‘support groups’ during the pandemic for staff to address the new challenges therapists, and healthcare workers in general, may face.
How can we help?
Do you want to learn more about PTSD, anxiety, or other mental health or substance use issues? Judson Center provided behavioral health services to nearly 1,100 individuals and families in 2019 and we are here to help. Services provided in our Warren clinic include individual, family and group therapy using evidence-based practices; psychiatric services, case management, and peer support. Areas of specialty include children and young adults with autism, families involved with foster care and adoption systems, individuals with concurrent mental illness and substance use disorder, and children with severe emotional challenges. Judson Center works in collaboration with outside providers such as primary care physicians, the legal system and schools to ensure comprehensive treatment of the whole person.
Judson Center’s Behavioral Health programs in Warren are integrated with the organization’s primary care practice, Judson Center Family Health. Both will continue to offer virtual visit options even after Michigan’s full re-opening. Learn more at https://www.judsoncenter.org/.