‘Payment is not a barrier’: Mental health services expand in Routt County amid COVID-19 pandemic
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Mental and behavioral health providers are expanding their outreach to help Routt County residents cope with the current public health crisis.
With the stress and anxiety that many people are suffering amid the pandemic, experts say it is particularly important to prioritize their mental health as well as their physical health. Social distancing rules and the state’s stay-at-home orders have restricted most in-person services, but providers are using virtual platforms to offer teletherapy and educational resources.
Last week, Mind Springs Health offered more virtual services in Routt County than in any of the other nine counties in which the health care organization operates, according to Operations Manager Tom Gangel.
Mind Springs continues to offer all of its usual services, Gangel said, such as individual and group therapy, psychiatric care and addiction recovery.
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“We are doing everything we can to get people in treatment,” he said.
To help people access online treatment, the organization is providing free smartphones to residents who do not have the technology to participate in teletherapy sessions. For those who do not have internet service, sessions are done over the phone, Gangel said.
His organization is accepting new patients. To set up an appointment, call 970-879-2141.
Mind Springs is offering daily Facebook live videos to help people cope with the crisis in a series called Peace in the Pandemic. Each video features mental health professionals discussing various topics, such as adjusting to the new normal and ways to calm stress or anxiety.
Northwest Colorado Health also is providing virtual mental and behavioral health services. The organization, which operates in Routt and Moffat counties, has recorded a spike in demand amid the pandemic, according to Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Einfeld. Fortunately, virtual services have allowed its staff to see and treat more patients than ever before.
“As long as you can get to a phone, we can treat you,” Einfeld said.
Local mental and behavioral health providers are accepting new patients.
- To reach Mind Springs Health, call 970-879-2141.
- To reach Northwest Colorado Health, call 970-879-1632.
In a single day, one therapist was able to meet with patients from Steamboat, Clark, Oak Creek, Hayden, Craig and Maybell, according to Einfeld.
“It’s phenomenal, but at the same time, we know there are people out there we are still not reaching,” she said.
Northwest Colorado Health seeks to remove any barriers that prevent people from receiving care, Einfeld said. The organization charges a nominal fee based on patients’ household income. Staff members help people access any financial assistance that may be available to them, such as Medicaid benefits.
“Payment is not a barrier with us,” Einfeld said, adding her organization works with people who are uninsured or underinsured.
Northwest Colorado Health also is accepting new patients. To set up an appointment, call 970-879-1632.
Local and state crisis lines remain open 24/7 during the crisis. People can contact Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, or REPS, by calling 970-846-8182. Callers will then be connected with mental health services in the community. The statewide Colorado Crisis Services is available by calling 1-844-493-8255 or texting “talk” to 38255.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has special recommendations to help people and their loved ones cope with the fear and anxiety caused by the pandemic. Everyone responds to stress differently, according to the CDC. Helping others, as well as taking proper care of oneself, can help to deal with stress.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
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