(Posted Feb. 8, 2021)
COVID-19 raised public awareness of frontline workers who support the community in times of crisis. Educators, in particular, have found themselves on the frontlines, serving as both teachers and counselors for the families and children navigating an ever-changing landscape.
Mental Health Recovery Board of Clark, Greene & Madison Counties (MHRB) is raising awareness of the mental burden on educators during COVID-19 and of the resources available to help.
“Those with school-aged children have undoubtedly depended on teachers and school counselors to help themselves and their children navigate this pandemic. Educators’ resilience, creativity and compassion has been a model for us all,” said Dr. Greta Mayer, CEO of MHRB.
“But their work doesn’t come without a cost. Constant changes in rules and policies and the strain of adapting to virtual teaching and ongoing uncertainty, can lead to burnout, deflation, anxiety and compassion fatigue. These are all real, serious concerns for people working in frontline occupations that we are trying to help address.”
Finding mental health care can be a difficult process, even outside of the life pressures during COVID-19. Common barriers include navigating insurance benefits, finding a provider that accepts insurance, appointment wait times, and whether the provider’s treatment approach is appropriate for the need. MHRB created the Responder Resilience Program last year to help frontline workers, like educators, overcome some of these obstacles.
The Responder Resilience Program is designed to cut out much of the heavy lifting when it comes to finding mental health care. The only action needed to get help is calling the program number and answering a short questionnaire about preferences, like which times during the day are best for an appointment and where they’d like to meet their provider. The first three sessions with a care provider are free, and if a patient wants to continue treatment, MHRB assists them in finding long-term care that meets their budget and needs.
“Our goal is not to tell educators they have one more thing to add to their to-do lists, but to make accessing the care they want or need as easy as possible,” said Mayer. “COVID-19 has taught us how health and wellbeing are precious resources. Educators may be so focused on the engagement and learning of the young people entrusted to them, that safeguards for their own health and wellbeing go by the wayside. Our leaders, teachers and school counselors are selfless—always ‘all in’ for their students, and MHRB is ‘all in’ to safeguard their resilience, creativity and compassion.”
Qualified frontline workers–educators, police officers, fire/EMS, medical staff, behavioral health workers and public health workers–in Clark, Greene and Madison counties can access free mental health care through the Responder Resilience Program by calling (937) 727-4097 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If you are in crisis and need immediate mental health support, call the free National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or text 4HOPE to 741-741 to reach Crisis Text Line. In the event of an emergency, call 911.
For more information about mental health and substance use resources in Clark, Greene and Madison counties, visit www.mhrb.org.