Beyond Blue

The world is a more stressful place since the novel coronavirus has affected the health and financial stability of thousands. Social distancing and other safety measures are fundamental to slowing the spread of the virus, but addressing mental health is equally important.

Those who live with anxiety are among the most at risk of feeling fatigue from social media and news intake. Lifepath Systems CEO Tammy Mahan wants people to know they can take a break from the virus.

“Watching the news all day long is not healthy for any of us,” Mahan said. “While we want people to stay informed, they need to minimize how much they're participating in that.”

Lifepath, a low-cost mental health service serving Collin County, has adapted its operation in the wake of the virus outbreak. The organization helps residents experiencing homelessness and psychiatric and financial issues. Now, Mahan said the organization is bringing its services to patients virtually.

“We've moved to a lot of telehealth services, either through different platforms that we have or even just phone call check-ins or just making sure people have their medications,” Mahan said.  

Mahan has also received calls from other county agencies being hit hard by the virus. 

“I know some other agencies are dealing with their facilities being shut down because they lease space from people and they're shutting down those operations, so everyone's really trying to figure out how to go more to phone-based systems and/or telehealth,” she added.

Mahan said using telehealth, the organization can connect with patients to try to soothe the issue on the spot. But if individuals need extra care, staff from Lifepath will meet them in the community.

“We're now delivering our medications, the psychiatric meds we have people on,” Mahan said. “We're taking it out to homes instead of making them come to us because we can go to the door and leave it on the doorstep and not have to have any real interaction with people. We have to be really creative with how we evolve with this situation and how we are meeting people's needs.”

For anyone experiencing increased stress or a mental health emergency, Lifepath’s hotline is open for calls 24/7 at 877-422-5939. 

“It doesn't have to a crisis where you want to die right now, it can just be you're feeling stir-crazy at home and you need to talk to somebody, any kind of mental health issue,” Mahan said of the hotline.

For information on Lifepath, visit lifepathsystems.org.

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