WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — At Retreat Behavioral Health, Executive Director Molly May has seen the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic up close.
“That March to kind of July, people were coming in who didn’t even necessarily recognize that they had problems with substances,” said May.
May said the lockdown caused a ripple effect in the recovery community.
“That socialization component was big and then the pandemic happened. In March, everything shut down, and as soon as that happened we saw a massive increase in admissions,” he added.
She said they quickly pivoted to a telehealth model, allowing them to better keep up with clients.
“And that also meant when patients discharged from us, from the residential side of things they could flow more easily into the outpatient side of things because we were able to set them up before they discharge.”
Licensed Psychiatrist Aldo Morales calls telehealth a silver lining of the pandemic.
“It introduced a whole new way of interacting,” said Morales.
Morales said his focus is now preventing anxiety and depression caused by the pandemic from escalating.
“When you combine an economic downturn, an uncertain economic future. When people see themselves with no way out and suicide becomes an option. It’s an option we have to try to prevent,”
Anyone who is struggling with mental health and suicidal thoughts can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1800-273-8255. It's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or also dial 211 for help.