Addressing mental health during spread of COVID-19

Updated: Apr. 1, 2020 at 5:33 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Texas Panhandle Alliance is making mental health a priority during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief Clinical Officer for the Texas Panhandle Center Libby Moore says residents should be taking their mental health as serious as physical health during this pandemic, as mental health can impact your physical health.

“Mental health is just like physical health," Moore said. "It’s a part of who we are, so stress impacts our well being, and during this time, we’re under a lot of stress. It’s important that we recognize the stress we’re under, and then to look at ways that we can alleviate that stress.”

Local residents are reporting higher stress levels, because of fear of unemployment and other overwhelming factors resulting from COVID-19.

“We are reaching out to the people that we currently serve, and they’re expressing the stress levels increasing. When we talked to folks, they’re concerned about their basic needs being met if they have been laid off from a job, or there’s concerns about getting food, shelter, those basic needs," Moore said.

The Panhandle Behavioral Alliance is now enforcing new mental health resources for residents which is specifically designed to assist patients during COVID-19.

“There is a state-wide mental health support line that just went into action yesterday," Shree Veeramachaneni, executive director for the Panhandle Behavioral Alliance said. "It is for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by the COVID pandemic, and you can speak with a med-help professional for help dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, or worry.”

Veeramachaneni also says although local mental health professionals have had to transition out of offices due to social distancing, thanks to telemedicine, all resources will still be readily available.

“The last week has been challenging, because all of the providers have been switching to tele-work and remote work, so they’ve been figuring those out, but everybody is still providing services and trying to focus on delivering that quality care to the customer," Veeramachaneni said.

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