Expert discusses COVID-19's impact on mental health | KOB 4

Expert discusses COVID-19's impact on mental health

Joy Wang
Updated: May 30, 2020 10:42 PM
Created: May 30, 2020 10:36 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mental health professionals are expecting to see an increase in need for services due to the coronavirus.

“I suspect after we open up and people start going, trying to go back to their normal lives, we're going to have a lot of people that have PTSD like symptoms. They're going to be hyper-vigilant, they're going to be afraid to get close to people. There's going to be, it's going to be pretty busy for the mental health community,” said Garry Hallford, institute director for CPI Counseling and Psychotherapy.


At the CPI Counseling and Psychotherapy Institute, counseling is being offered free of charge for first responders.

“We reached out to Presbyterian, and we have always had a policy that first responders, if they needed to talk to somebody, and there seems to be a stigma on first responders, the medical community, so if they reach out to us we'll do it off the record, you know, we'll just sit there and talk to them and whatever they need," Hallford said.

Those on the frontlines are especially susceptible to PTSD.

“…and PTSD. We've come a long way with it. CPI does— 80% of what we do is heavy trauma, PTSD, sexual abuse, really heavy stuff. And we have some new techniques and techniques that we're using to where you don't have to walk around with PTSD. You don't have to walk around with the nightmares and the terrors and all the things that go with PTSD,” Hallford said.

Another growing concern is suicide.

“Counseling and psychotherapy has always been on the front lines. We're right there with the police. We take care of the people that no one else wants to take care of. We don't turn anybody away for a reason, so I don't want to reflect in any way negatively on APD,” he said.

Because of COVID, Hallford said it’s been tougher to get law enforcement to perform welfare checks, which is an important step that helps interrupt the process of wanting to harm oneself.

“And since the COVID thing has happened, and we don't know why, but we're not having—they don't seem to be doing welfare checks,” he said.

A spokesperson for APD said field officers are still responding to calls as they come in. The mobile crisis teams are still running full time. The only change is that they’re doing phone visits when possible, but still go out when they’re needed.

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