As never before, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the numbers of people struggling with anxiety, uncertainty, stress, and depression. Dan Arnold, Director of Clinical Services and Counseling Services at Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) cites a Kaiser Family Foundation poll showing that nearly half of Americans are reporting the crisis is negatively impacting their mental health.
Locally, Dan Arnold has observed, “Parents, particularly moms, are struggling with their new role as educator while also juggling their responsibilities as primary caregiver and wage-earner. Teens and young adults are anxious about their futures and are grieving the loss of lifecycle events such as proms, camp, graduations and weddings. Older adults and their caregivers are impacted by the physical distancing measures that are in place. With older adult communities closed to visitors, many fear they may not see their loved ones again. The rise in unemployment and fears about financial insecurity affect all of these groups. Finally, there is an established relationship between periods of economic upheaval and rises in divorce, suicide and substance abuse rates.”
There are many avenues for mental health services in Atlanta. Click below to learn where to go for help.
Gabby Spatt is Executive Director of Blue Dove Foundation, which focuses on mental health and substance abuse education through a Jewish lens. She worries about the lasting mental health impact of COVID-19. “Many experts believe there will be a huge need for mental health resources for years to come. Eradicating shame and stigma and supporting one another will make a huge impact on mental health. Shame and stigma are 100% curable – compassion, empathy, and understanding are the solution. Your voice and kindness can spread the cure.”
Jewish Family & Career Services
JF&CS provides individual, family, couples and group therapy for people of all ages — from young child to older adult — and from all walks of life.
JF&CS Telehealth Services
JF&CS has already made the shift from in-person services in Dunwoody, East Cobb and client homes to fully implementing telehealth options. Telehealth has allowed them to continue meeting with existing clients as well as being available for those seeking to initiate counseling. The agency is using telehealth for both individual and group psychotherapy. Fortunately, most of the insurance companies, including Medicare, have also authorized phone-only sessions for those who can’t access video. This has been elemental in being able to maintain relationships with older adults who may not have access to video technology but whose phones serve as a lifeline to the outside world.
New COVID-19 Groups
In response to community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, JF&CS is also offering a number of groups including Parenting During a Pandemic, High School Seniors Support, LGBTQ Support, Pregnant During a Pandemic, Caregiver Support, Teen Girls Support and support for significant others of individuals impacted by substance abuse. All of these groups are offered on-line and are facilitated by licensed therapists.
Offerings include expressive therapies including art, yoga and play as well as Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home), that specifically addresses the needs of children and adults who are impacted by domestic violence.
Addiction & Substance Abuse
HAMSA (Helping Atlantans Manage Substance Abuse) is committed to assisting individuals struggling with addiction to find treatment options and support through an Information and Referral program specific to substance abuse. Additionally, HAMSA offers NARCAN education and supply as well as Jewish Sensitivity Training for treatment providers. Call 1-833-HAMSA-HELPS.
The Blue Dove Foundation
For Mental Health Awareness Month, The Blue Dove Foundation is curating a special set of resources and virtual programs, both independently and in partnership with like-minded organizations. The programs have been created with different audiences in mind and aim to touch a diverse group of Jewish community members. Learn more or join them for a virtual program at https://thebluedovefoundation.org/mhwmevents/.
Jewish Fertility Foundation
Ask the Expert: ask one of JFF’s physicians, therapists, or lawyers about any of your infertility questions during COVID-19. Questions will be responded to within 2 business days and will be posted anonymously on the JFF social media platforms.
See a full list of resources in Jewish Atlanta here