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Call the NAMI Helpline at
Or in a crisis, text "NAMI" to 741741
We have more time on our hands and we're eager to connect with people through video conferencing and social media. Instagram knows this, and the platform has partnered with NAMI for a week of sharing resources. They’re asking experts and influencers to offer advice on how they’re taking care of themselves during COVID-19. “This pandemic affects everyone and I mean everyone,” Dr. Ken Duckworth, CMO at NAMI says. “At NAMI we say 'you are not alone,' and it has never been more true than now."
On Wednesday, Joel Weber, Businessweek editor-in-chief, and Cynthia Koons, Bloomberg reporter, hosted a virtual town hall that aired live on YouTube and Facebook. The first segment focused on the increased need for telemedicine with the Chief Medical Officers from both Talkspace and Brightside. The second segment featured Dr. Ken Duckworth, CMO, NAMI and Dr. Christine Moutier, CMO, AFSP and focused on the larger issues around mental health and access to care. The third segment included everyone and they answered questions from the audience.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus has dramatically affected the one in five Americans who deal with mental health in any given year, as well as those who work tirelessly to keep those individuals well. Already, NAMI, the largest grassroots mental health organization in the country, has increased staffing on its helpline to from 10 to 40 volunteers in order to keep up with increased demand, said Dr. Ken Duckworth, the group’s chief medical officer. “The volume is substantially up. People are anxious, and people are looking for support.”
The COVID-19 outbreak is creating increased demand for mental health services — lots of people are feeling anxious or getting depressed. At the same time, traditional mental health services have been disrupted. In-person sessions are not possible, nor are group sessions. We take a look at mental health services and what people are doing to stay well during these difficult times. The episode includes Dawn Brown, director of community engagement for NAMI, discussing NAMI’s guide for dealing with the fallout of COVID-19.
Reports that amid the coronavirus pandemic, hotlines in the U.S. are seeing a spike in activity. Before COVID-19, 150 calls would be a big day, said Dawn Brown, the NAMI HelpLine director. Now it’s surpassing that number daily. “It’s continuing to go up,” she said, adding that nearly half the callers at some point mention the virus. Callers to NAMI’s line are sharing feelings of anxiety and depression as well as asking for advice about how to continue treatment and get medicine refilled during stay-at-home orders.
Life during a pandemic has even the most resilient drowning in new levels of stress. The sudden and growing need for care has left mental health providers overwhelmed. One problem: There aren’t enough therapists to go around. “Demand has increased substantially for American mental health, and our supply hasn’t changed in a meaningful way,” says Ken Duckworth, CMO for NAMI. “It’s not really a system,” he says of the U.S. mental health infrastructure. “It’s a patchwork quilt of individuals and well-meaning policy people trying to provide large numbers of services to large numbers of people in a payment structure that is varied and complex. It’s quite a challenge.”
Reports on how telemedicine and teletherapy coverage has been broadly expanded amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts are now increasingly recommending turning to telehealth, including telemedicine and teletherapy, as the first option for most non-emergency care. Last week was “the biggest week in telehealth policy in American history,” says Dr. Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of NAMI.
Reports that crisis intervention organizations across the nation have seen a dramatic surge in people seeking mental-health services as anxiety grows about the coronavirus pandemic. “Many people are feeling anxiety or fear, or an acute sense of vulnerability if you happen to have respiratory vulnerability or are immunocompromised,” Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of NAMI, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. The Crisis Textline has seen a 116% spike in the volume of texts received in the last week due to coronavirus.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey found that 70% of people were experiencing stress as a result of the new coronavirus outbreak. That compares to the March 2009 peak of 61% reporting stress during the last recession. Dr. Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of NAMI, told Newsweek "a lot of people" are calling the helpline at the moment. Duckworth said those with existing mental health problems are now dealing with the added stress related to the coronavirus pandemic and the myriad problems stemming from it.
Call the NAMI Helpline at
text "NAMI" to 741741