From Our Team
Posted on October 9, 2020 by Enrique Mata
COVID-19 is challenging the region’s partners to unite, adapt, and maximize resources. The good news is that since 2014, El Paso County leaders, champions and advocates from all sectors, have been communicating, coordinating and collaborating to provide timely mental health and addiction treatment and support services for individuals and families in need.
On Oct. 14, members of the El Paso Behavioral Consortium will convene in a virtual environment for the 6th Annual Consortium Progress Summit. This public event will showcase the work being done to improve the mental health and addiction services available in the region. To register and receive details for the event, visit: https://meetingtomorrow.com/webcast/2020ConsortiumSummit
Following the August 3, 2019, tragedy, mental health and addiction service providers united to serve people in need. Then as COVID-19 stay-at-home orders took effect, the trust and support among these essential providers grew even stronger. Collaboration is more important than ever as we are only now beginning to see the traumatic mental health and addiction repercussions of these disasters. Because of the sudden and massive shifts in our lives, it is almost impossible to truly understand lasting health impacts. Anecdotally, first responders and other service providers are reporting that those seeking mental health support are being seen with more serious symptoms that if addressed earlier, could have prevented crisis or undue suffering. In response, El Paso organizations and agencies are adapting and working together to improve the care system including:
- Providing better coordination of care using peer support specialists and trained navigators with lived experience to help keep people connected to services;
- Enhancing technology like telehealth options and electronic exchange of health records;
- Increasing knowledge and skill of providers in the most up to date treatments available;
- Increasing availability of hotlines and helplines, mobile crisis teams, walk-in crisis clinics, hospital-based psychiatric emergency services, and family education and support programs.
Something we all can do as parents, mentors, citizens, and community leaders is to be vigilant and prepared to prevent tragedies by guiding individuals at risk or in crisis to professional help. Take time to learn about the warning signs of mental illness and addiction. These warning signs may include individuals talking about wanting to hurt themselves, increasing substance use, and changes in mood, diet, or sleeping patterns.
When these warning signs appear, they should be taken seriously and professional help from a physician or mental health professional should be sought. Reaching out to help can seem overwhelming and frightening, but there are national, state and local resources available. When individuals share with you that they are in recovery from a mental illness or addiction, meet them with support and acceptance.
For more resource referral options and to learn more about the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium visit: http://www.healthypasodelnorte.org
For Mental Health and Addiction support: Emergence Health Network 24 Hour Crisis Line: (915) 779-1800 www.emergencehealthnetwork.org
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -1-800-273-8255 - http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
National Alliance on Mental Illness - El Paso (915) 778-5726 http://namiep.org/
Veterans Crisis Line - (800) 273-8255, Press 1
Crisis Text Line – Text – 741741
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA] (800) 662- 4357 http://www.samhsa.gov/
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