Some call it the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, We're talking about the mental health crises that follows such longterm and significant events.

A Washington Post Headline reads "The Coronavirus Pandemic is Pushing America Into A Mental Health Crises." From the story, "Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.....Researchers have created models — based on data collected after natural disasters, terrorist attacks and economic downturns — that show a likely increase in suicides, overdose deaths and substance use disorders."

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) website says, "Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause the following:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Worsening of mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of tobacco and/or alcohol and other substances"

 

Locally,Community Health of Central Washington (CHCW)  is responding by adding new psychiatric care services to fill the immediate need posed by the risk of increased suicide rates and mental health challenges in the community.

The person in charge of providing these services and overseeing the newly created psychiatric department is Melissa Helgeson, ARNP, PMHNP,

A CHCH news release says Helgeson trained as a registered nurse and worked in mental health for years, strengthening assessment skills, care management, and patient advocacy.

She is specialized in caring for ‘treatment-resistant’ patients and is trained to manage complex combinations of medications helping her patients adjust their lifestyles to improve their health.

Helgeson has over 10 years of experience and previously managed her own private nursing company. She is currently available to see patients at CHCW clinics Monday-Friday from 8-5 pm.

 

Melissa Helgeson says “My goal is to help individuals and families heal from abuse, depression, and trauma, by strengthening family bonds through therapy, diagnosis, medication management, consultations, referrals, and behavioral plans...so that their healing can begin.”