According to the National Center for PTSD, PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, sexual assault or a pandemic. Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD.
- About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
- About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
Recently released studies show the COVID-19 pandemic has caused different levels of stress. According to Psychiatric Times, “COVID-19 has already led to diverse mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other trauma and stress-related disorders”. In fact, all of the below groups of people have met the criteria for PTSD including:
- individuals who suffered themselves from serious COVID-19 illness and potential death
- individuals who lost family and friends
- healthcare workers who have witnessed the pain and/or death of others
- and those who were on the front lines as journalists, teachers, grocery store, delivery, and sanitation workers and all hospital personnel
After a traumatic event, including a pandemic, it’s normal to have trouble sleeping, to feel on edge or have upsetting memories. People may also have trouble doing day to day activities like going to work or school and being around friends and family. These feelings can go away after a few weeks or months but PSTD symptoms can also start later or can come and go. Be sure to seek support if you need it such as your Employee Member Assistance Program (EMAP). If you don’t have an EMAP, contact a doctor.
HELPFUL PTSD HOTLINE NUMBERS
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (also affiliated with Mental Health America): (800) 273-TALK (8255). Available any time of day or night, 365 days a year, this toll-free PTSD helpline has trained volunteers standing by to provide crisis intervention, to offer support for people in distress, and to give information and referrals to people with PTSD and their loved ones.
Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-TALK (8255) and press “1”. This toll-free hotline is available for veterans and their loved ones. You can also send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential, free support and referrals.
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741. This service is available 24/7 and provides free crisis support and information via text.
National Hopeline Network: (800) 442-HOPE (4673). Available 365 days a year, volunteers who staff this toll-free hotline are specially trained in crisis intervention to provide support, information, and referrals to people in need. You can also access services via chat by pressing the “Chat Now” button on its website.
PTSD Foundation of America, Veteran Line: (877) 717-PTSD (7873). Providing referrals, information, and helpful resources to veterans and their families, this toll-free hotline is available 24/7.
Lifeline for Vets: (888) 777-4443. Also geared toward veterans and their families, this toll-free PTSD helpline provides crisis intervention, referrals, and information.
TOP 10 REASONS TO GET VACCINATIONS
- Vaccine-preventable diseases have not gone away. The viruses and bacteria that cause illness and death still exist and can be passed on to those who are not protected by vaccines. While many diseases are not common in the US, global travel makes it easy for diseases to spread. Also, the dangerous “anti-vaxx” movement has contributed to a resurgence in diseases like measles and whooping cough.
- Vaccines will help keep you healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinations throughout your life to protect against many infections. When you skip vaccines, you leave yourself vulnerable to illnesses such as shingles, pneumococcal disease, flu, and HPV and hepatitis B, both leading causes of cancer.
- Vaccines are as important to your overall health as diet and exercise. Like eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting regular check-ups, vaccines play a vital role in keeping you healthy. Vaccines are one of the most convenient and safest preventive care measures available.
- Vaccination can mean the difference between life and death. Vaccine-preventable infections can be deadly. Every year in the US, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 50,000 adults died from vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Vaccines are safe. The US has a robust approval process to ensure that all licensed vaccines are safe. Potential side effects associated with vaccines are uncommon and much less severe than the diseases they prevent.
- Vaccines will not cause the diseases they are designed to prevent. Vaccines contain either killed or weakened viruses, making it impossible to get the disease from the vaccine.
- Young and healthy people can get very sick, too. Infants and older adults are at increased risk for serious infections and complications, but vaccine-preventable diseases can strike anyone. If you are young and healthy, getting vaccinated can help you stay that way.
- Vaccine-preventable diseases are expensive. Diseases not only have a direct impact on individuals and their families, but also carry a high price tag for society, exceeding $10 billion per year. An average flu illness can last up to 15 days, typically with five or six missed work or school days. Adults who get hepatitis A lose an average of one month of work.
- When you get sick, your children, grandchildren, and parents may be at risk, too. Adults are the most common source of pertussis (whooping cough) infection in infants which can be deadly for babies. When you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and your family as well as those in your community who may not be able to be vaccinated.
- Your family and co-workers need you. In the US each year, millions of adults get sick from vaccine-preventable diseases, causing them to miss work and leaving them unable to care for those who depend on them, including their children and/or aging parents.
Finding Vaccines in Your Area
Vaccines may be available at private doctor offices, pharmacies, workplaces, community health clinics, health departments or other community locations, such as schools and religious centers. If your primary healthcare provider does not stock all the vaccines recommended for you, ask for a referral.
Federally funded health centers can provide services if you don’t have health insurance or a regular source of health care – you pay what you can afford based on your income. Locate a federal health center near you: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/
You can also contact your state health department to learn more about where to get vaccines in your community: https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html
SOURCE: National Foundation for Infectious Disease
LESSONS FROM A PANDEMIC
Greater barriers to access and tremendous mental health challenges may illuminate a new way forward for companies and healthcare.
While the pandemic has devastated so many peoples’ lives and challenged the healthcare industry, there is hope. The sheer number of people struggling with mental health challenges now may lead to an easing of the stigma often associated with these issues. In addition, the realities of the pandemic—in which so many people have been working remotely and may be unable to make in-person visits to healthcare providers—have accelerated the adoption of technological tools that can reduce barriers to care. Psychologists have developed new ways to use technology to connect with patients, giving rise to mobile apps, text chats, and other innovations that have the potential to allow more access to behavioral healthcare at early stages of patients’ issues, when it can have a powerful effect.
The challenge now is to connect people with the help they need. “One of the biggest obstacles in providing behavioral health is getting the message to employees about the resources they have—letting them know that they do have a place to turn,” says Janis DiMonaco, founder and former president and CEO of HMC HealthWorks and strategic adviser to IBH/HMC HealthWorks. To improve worker awareness and increase participation, HMC has developed a new Virtual Mental Health Care Hub, which gives employees easier access to an enhanced menu of tools and services, helping address their behavioral health needs while reducing employer costs.
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NEW JERSEY TASK FORCE 1 ASSISTS SURFSIDE CONDO COLLAPSE RECOVERY EFFORT
Dr. Christopher Valerian, National Medical Director for Integrated Behavioral Health, Inc. and HMC HealthWorks, LLC spoke with CBSN about his front-line experience as part of the rescue and recovery mission from the Surfside Condo collapse in Miami FL. Dr. Valerian is part of the New Jersey Task Force 1 who provided support to local authorities and help the families find closure.
Dr. Valerian’s account can be heard at 3:05 minute mark. Watch Now
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