By Neil McNerney, Parenting With Purpose
One of the issues about the pandemic is clear: Mental health has suffered with every demographic.
Depression and anxiety have increased with children, teens, and adults. Those who have dealt with mental health issues in the past have seen and increase in their symptoms, while those who might have never dealt with mental health issues might be experiencing it for the first time. In this month’s column, I will be sharing resources that are available in Loudoun for those experiencing mental health difficulties.
Check with Your Insurance Company. Most people begin the search for a mental health provider by checking with their insurance company to get a list of in-network providers. This is a good first step, since using your insurance can reduce the cost of the services. There are a few things you should know, however. It might be a challenge to get a return phone call from an in-network provider. Providers that are in-network receive multiple phone calls per day asking if they are taking new people. They don’t have the ability to call back everyone. Suggestion: Be gently persistent. Do an internet search on those that you are calling and when leaving a message, let them know why you think they would be a good match. Call every 3-4 days if you haven’t heard back.
Psychology Today Find a Therapist. Psychology Today is an excellent referral resource to find a mental health provider. It is a searchable database of local providers. However, it is not a complete list of providers since each therapist needs to pay a monthly fee to be in the database. www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists.
Loudoun County Mental Health.The Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Developmental Services provides direct services to community members. The department is limited in who they serve. Essentially, they serve individuals dealing with severe mental illness and cannot afford to get help elsewhere. To see if you qualify for services, call: 703-771-5155.
In Case of Emergency: Suicidal thoughts are one of the most alarming issues that people with mental health issues deal with. It is important to know how to handle such a situation. If you or a family member is having suicidal thoughts and can’t assure their safety, it is important to keep them safe. If the person can be safely transported, your best first option is to go to the nearest emergency room hospital. Although it might seem counter-intuitive to go to an emergency room, they are well suited to handle mental health emergencies. They have staff available 24/7 to assess and help develop a plan for safety. In addition, they have access to a list of hospitals that have availability if needed.
Loudoun County also has a crisis assessment center that is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. It is located near the old Walmart in Leesburg and can be reached at 703-777-0320.
If you feel it is unsafe to transport the person yourself, you can also call 911. A sheriff’s deputy trained in crisis intervention will be dispatched to assist in transporting to the hospital or the county assessment center. It is important to let the 911 dispatcher know that this is a mental health emergency and that you need a C.I.T. (crisis intervention team) trained deputy to be sent.
Community Nonprofits.We are fortunate to have several nonprofits that are doing a great job of serving the community.
Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS) provides free, confidential services to adults and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. LAWS operates a 24-hour hotline staffed by trained advocates. Victims of domestic violence or any other person who needs information about domestic or sexual violence services and community resources can call 703-777-6552.
Boulder Crest Retreatworks to heal, train, and advocate for combat veterans, first responders, and their families who have experienced trauma. They provide a number of services in a retreat-type environment for military vets, first responders and their families. Contact them at bouldercrest.org and 540-554-2727.
Ryan Bartel Foundationprovides prevention and support services to teens through their FORTitude program, an online safe place for teens to get together. There are groups for middle schoolers and high schoolers. For more information: ryanbartelfoundation.org.
A Place To Beprovides a variety of music therapy services to the community to help people face, navigate, and overcome life’s challenges using clinically based practices of music therapy. They have a number of fun and engaging ways to help improve mental health using music as the medium. For more information: aplacetobeva.org.
Feel free to clip this column and keep as a resource, or bookmark online so that if needed, you will have the resources needed.
Neil McNerney is a licensed professional counselor and author ofHomework – A Parent’s Guide To Helping Out Without Freaking Out!andThe Don’t Freak Out Guide for Parenting Kids with Asperger’s. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.