ALPENA, Mich. — A local counseling center has moved to telehealth appointments amid the coronavirus outbreak. As of March 23, Catholic Human Services began taking visits virtually to protect the physical health of clients and employees, while also tending to their mental and emotional needs. Larry LaCross, Clinical Supervisor for Catholic Human Services’ eastern region, says the organization has been able to continue serving the community, thanks to a generous grant from the Michigan Health Endowment fund.
“We received $50,000 starting April 1, and that is to support and enhance our work with telehealth.” LaCross says the organization immediately realized the importance of prioritizing behavioral health services after the pandemic was underway. Personnel from Catholic Human Services has stepped up locally to ensure people are actually getting that help during this time of crisis.
“It’s critical, especially right now, to make sure that mental health services and treatment for substance use disorders are available to people who need it. I think people are struggling a lot more than they were before, and a lot of the new discussion and some new research is really into what they call the second wave of the epidemic, which will be a wave of mental health and substance use problems.”
LaCross says the last few months have taken a toll on everyone, but says essential workers, including healthcare professionals, first responders, and other critical workers, are especially vulnerable at this time. As of May 1, telehealth visits for these essential workers will not require an out of pocket payment, but LaCross is telling anyone who may need help to reach out online or by phone.
“I would encourage anybody who feels like they might need some treatment right now, or just some support, especially those critical workers on the front lines to reach out to us, find out what we can offer, and just give us a call when you need.”