CAPE GIRARDEAU (WSIL) — Right now mental health concerns are on the rise and Behavioral health experts are worried about COVID fatigue.
A free, COVID-related counseling program in Cape Girardeau hopes to help those in need as the difficulties of the pandemic will have lasting affects for many people long after it ends.
Director of Behavioral Health Services with Gibson Recovery Center Samantha Tracy says, the experts still do not know what the effects of COVID will be long term.
“We know a year out that we definitely have increased mental health concerns,” says Tracy. “We have increased overdose rates, we don’t know what it’s going to be in five or ten years, all we can do at this point is educate that mental health is important to stay on top of, that stress can build.”
Tracy is a Crisis Counselor leader and says a continued stigma surrounding Mental Health services can lead people to avoid seeking help, warning that avoiding signs of trauma may just compound the issues.
“Trauma is not necessarily one event, but continued small events that can lead to ongoing trauma,” says Tracy, adding that after living the past year under pandemic conditions, people are mentally “worn out,” showing signs of “COVID fatigue.”
“Even just stress, everybody has stress, you don’t have to have a mental health diagnosis to reach out in this program,” says Tracy.
The Gibson Center’s Crisis Counseling Program offers five free sessions to anyone of any age from Cape Girardeau, Scott, Bollinger, Perry, Madison, Mississippi and Ste. Genevieve counties, beginning immediately.
The Gibson Center is a not-for-profit corporation formed to create and operate needed substance-use services. The service is provided in partnership with the Show-Me Hope Initiative. Those interested may call (573) 803-4151 or email email@example.com to get started.
More than just a friendly phone call, the program teaches skills to reduce stress, provide self care and offers interventions for more severe cases.
“Mental health is not something that just started with COVID,” says Tracy. “We’ve needed these services prior to this, we’ll need this ongoing.”