DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — As many central Illinois residents prepare to take shelter from the COVID-19 pandemic, mental and behavioral health providers are taking precautions to maintain their critical services.
There are many who have been laid off from their jobs or had their lives disrupted due to the economic or social impacts of COVID-19. Self-isolation might be harder on some than it is for others.
Crosspoint Human Services (CHS) Executive Director Chad Hays said he thinks it’s possible that more people will need to utilize their services during this pandemic.
Hays said as a 24/7 mental health crisis service provider for Vermilion County, they will continue to have their staff available around the clock to respond to those in need. CHS already has had its staff stationed in emergency rooms in Danville and Hoopeston, as well as in the Public Safety Building.
The director of CHS, which offers 24/7 mental health crisis services, said they have moved most of their operating methods almost entirely over to either telephone or video conferencing. “Were in full-fledged mode as related to that.”
“We are fully staffed and are prepared to continue round the clock for our crisis service right now.”
Hays said they are being very proactive in taking precautions to protect their staff, disinfect their facilities and maintain social distancing. Their employees who can work from home will do so. Hays said for those who need to come to their buildings for a medical need will have their temperature taken and will be asked “a litany of questions,” such as if they have the flu or flu-like symptoms, and whether they’ve been out of the country or not. They will isolate certain individuals as necessary.
“We’ll be doing all that while continuing the essential services that are needed by the most vulnerable people in our society.”
Rosecrance, which provides services to those suffering from mental health or substance use disorders, will also be open to serve their clients. A COVID-19 advisory page on their website states that they have “excellent infection control protocols in place.” They will be screening all clients and staff entering their facilities, and conduct assessments via video and telephone. Group counseling is limited to nine clients or less for in-person meetings, and they’re switching as many sessions to video and telephone as possible.
Community-based and outpatient counseling is also being shifted to “tele-groups, phone calls, and live-streaming video.” Community support groups like 12 Step meetings have been suspended for now. “We can help by making online resources available to any clients or loved ones.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Wright said in a video statement, “When a loved one needs treatment, when they’re ready we don’t want barriers. No matter what else is happening in the world, access to that life-saving treatment is also critical.”
He said six months ago, most people were unfamiliar with COVID-19, and they have since added the terms ‘social-distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ to their vocabulary.
“Experts warn that behavioral health care issues will increase during times of great crisis.”
He encouraged those or a loved one in need of their services to reach out to them.