Emotional Support is Only a Phone Call Away!

Scared. Frustrated. Anxious. Pi**ed off?

These are common feelings right now. Take a listen to this podcast which includes Heart-Centered Counselor’s founder Carl Nassar talk about reaching out to experts who will listen and help you cope with all the emotions you’re experiencing.

Radio Fort Collins Mental Health Services Podcast

#COVID19 #emotionalsupport @HealthDistrict @SummitStoneHlth @krfcfm

Below is a transcription of the podcast:

You’re listening to KRS C eighty eight point nine F.M. radio Fort Collins and this is community at work. I’m any little room.

This program is being recorded remotely by each person through a zoom interface. People are working from home that are associated with businesses that are not considered essential services. Larimer County government are cities non-profits and other agencies are all providing essential services throughout this corona virus pandemic. On this edition of community at work we talk about mental health. Our guests today are Kristin Cochran Ward director of mental health and substance use connections or the health district of northern Larimer County including the child adolescent young adult Connections program. Nassar president of heart centered counseling and Cindy Dodds chief clinical officer of sup at St.. We are going to get started with two other people who are both working with Larimer County government during this pandemic to facilitate bringing essential human services to our communities. The first is Nick Christensen at large appointee with Larimer County Behavioral Health Policy Council and voluntary advisor with the sheriff’s office high neck.

Thank you Danny and welcome to our speakers. I am glad we have mental health this is our topic today. We all have mental health just like physical but it can get overlooked even stigmatized and yet it’s important and necessary for all of us especially now we all have good days and some challenging ones and sometimes more severe. We don’t always get the help we need or even know how to do so. I know a men can be especially bad at getting help but to do so in my view the strength is not a weakness. We all work with others to get the job done and other areas mental health should be no different. I look forward to hearing from our speakers today on how not just men but everyone can best take care of their mental health especially during these stressful times. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Thanks Nick. And we’ve got Gordon Tibet out. And Gordon is a community volunteer and former CEO of United and Larimer County. Good morning Gordon.

Good morning Denny and thank you for putting this on you know to follow up on what Nick said. You know I spent a number of years in the military and then here in the community. And one thing I know for certain is that men do not want to ask for help. It just is not a normal response that most men particularly men in my age group 70 plus you know we’re just taught from the very beginning that we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and we man up. And in these critical times I think it’s essential that people take a real hard work particularly men and older men at the agency. And those just remarkable services that are provided by and represented by the speakers that we’re going to have today.

So thank you both Gordon and Nick both the very well put of course.

Let’s get started with Christian couple Gordon Ward director of mental health and substance use connections for the health district of northern Larimer County including the Child Adolescent and Young Adult Connections program. Good morning.

Best to the morning thank you for having me.

Tell me about the health district of northern Larimer County and your role in mental health right now.

Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about our program. We are the connections program we are here to provide assistance and resources to anybody in the community any Larimer County resident who finds themselves struggling struggling can look a lot different for a lot of different people.

We are hearing from the community that there is a great need for more support at this time. So the health district just a little information for those who might not know is funded by our property taxes. We’re also funded by grants and other smaller funding streams as well. But that gives us the ability to provide services to all residents without having to worry about what insurance you have or how you’re going to pay for this service. So a little bit of a unique Connections program serves all ages. We have our kayak team which have already introduced as the child and young adult Connections program and our adult team. So we serve the whole life. We’re here to help people identify what they’re struggling with and also connect them with the most appropriate resources in the community. We know when people are really overwhelmed or struggling that it’s a challenge to find those resources and maybe identify what’s best for you. So our team of licensed mental health professionals is here to answer your questions really help you figure out what is going on and what are the best resources we can help you get. And in some cases that might be our clinicians providing the services first as well.

So Christine you said that you were getting questions from the public. What kinds of questions or services are you hearing about the most from people.

You know we’re hearing such a variety of issues that people are struggling with of course anxiety is a big one. But the other things that we’re really hearing is how do you balance being a stay at home parent and educator and also having to work from home. How do you cope with the fear about a job loss and how are you going to pay your bills.

How are you going to support your family. How do you cope with the panic feeling that overwhelming anxiety of what happens if I get this illness. So we’re hearing just a lot of really life questions struggles that people are having that generally wouldn’t rise to this level in the community as far as oh if I get the flu or flu or you know people have have that general sense when they have an understanding of what’s going on. But I think people are really dealing with a lot of confusion and a lot of fear because unknown is so great at this time and there’s so much uncertainty how do people get your services.

Yes. So that’s a great question.

And everybody in the community can reach us by calling 9 7 0 2 2 1 5 5 5 1. What happens when you call that number is you will be connected with a licensed mental health professional so somebody who is really trained to be able to address whatever issue it is that you’re calling and about and many I’ll connect with that clinician and that person will help you. I’m really kind of identify where the struggle is what the issue is that you’re dealing with and then what’s the next best step. And that’s so often what we hear is people call into us and say I just don’t know what to do. So that’s our role is to really help a caller you figure out what it can to help you and how can we get you connected the most appropriate resource in the community based on what it is that you’re struggling with from the Larimer County fires and then floods.

The most important thing it seemed to people was just the thought of where do I start. Yes beginning. And so you’re saying that people 9 7 0 2 2 1 5 5 5 1 they’ll be connected with a mental health professional.


And then we can help figure out and I’m sorry I didn’t answer that other part of your question in my last answer here at seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. we’re offering all of our services over the phone or through telehealth. So if it is you know something that you really want to pursue where you can do some therapeutic services we do have the ability to do that over the phone or through telehealth wonderful and what your Web site christen our Web site is Health District dot org and then you would look for the Connections program on the health district. Dot org Web site.

Thank you. We’ll circle back with you towards the end of this interview.

Let’s hear from Karl Nassar next. He’s the president of heart centered counseling. Good morning.

Good morning. Thank you for having me.

Right. What. Well tell us a little bit about the services and Heart Center counseling for Pakistan. And what are you hearing about the most. Absolutely.

So it’s usually a heart center counseling is an organization that was set up to remove all the barriers to access mental health care. Now we have about 200 providers across the state many of whom are in Larimer and Weld County. And the the idea is that anyone can just reach out call us that our main number or find us online or get that information in just a moment and that we can get people seen quickly. Certainly within within seven days if not sooner and that we can get them in and try to make cost a non issue to being seen by taking all insurances Medicaid Medicare and all the private commercial insurances like Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield or United and get people seen regardless of age from the very young to the very old regardless of issue whether that’s something for the depression or anxiety spectrum or something something different and that and that basically by just reaching out to us we can get people set up quickly for this time either tell the therapy or tell us psychiatry so they can get the support they need quickly and easily and all the barriers that they might otherwise have to access and care are as best as possible moved out of the way and they can quickly and easily access care.

And along that line you know one of the biggest things that we’re seeing and that is that the data is telling us is that you know with people sheltered in place fewer people are reaching out for care until things build up to be a crisis.

You’re seeing a 10 fold increase in the use of crisis services and a decrease in the number of people calling for routine outpatient mental health care. And what that tells us is that people are trying to manage on their own until it builds up to a crisis point and then aren’t able to at that point reaching out for help. And our hope is that people reach out for help sooner than later. That would tell it therapy being directed home and that tell therapy is something you can access through a smartphone or tablet or a computer and as easy as click no link and if that doesn’t work we can still we can go back the old school telephone to make that connection you know that that it is very easy to access therapy and psychiatry services at this time the cost is low because insurances are ramping up their payments to support that. And we want we want to encourage people to reach out and not wait to get that help until they’re in a crisis mode that’s where they are our hope is that people will start to even sheltering in place recognize they can get the care and support they need sooner without having to let it build up and then reach out later when it’s when it’s harder.

You have a sense Carl of why people are doing that waiting till it becomes a crisis rather than calling earlier.

You know my hunch is twofold. One is everybody is a little bit overwhelmed in the transition.

There there there there stay at home teachers to their kids as I am to my 10 year old daughter.

They are working from home at the same time they’re trying to navigate their relationship with their spouses for example and in the midst of all that busyness what gets lost is care for ourselves. And so we sort of lose track of caring for ourselves our feelings get pushed down and then they come out sideways or they don’t come out until it’s a crisis. So you know we’re hoping that that people will be able to just find some moments to touch in with themselves be honest with themselves about how they’re feeling and and understand that if they have feelings that are building up whether that’s anger or sadness or anxiety that they can reach out for help. That mental health doesn’t mean you’re clinically depressed per say mental help can simply mean that you’re you’re struggling because there are losses right now or you’re scared about your future or your your. You’re finding yourself angry at being contained in your house and that those feelings are real and important and deserve expression. And you know one way to express those is to reach out to a counselor therapist and and talk about those so that there’s a healthy venue for those to be moved through and released so they don’t build up on the inside and come out sideways toward yourself toward your family or in a crisis scenario.

It’s great that you have talent therapy and tell us psychiatry and people can use phones computers. How do they get a hold of you to get started.

Yes. So they can they can call. Call us are our main number is 9 7 0 3 1 0 3 4 0 6. Or they can just go to our Web site which is heart centered counseling dot com spelled the way you would you would think it would be heart centered counseling dot com.

I’m so glad to hear what you said about insurance companies are ramping up knowing that this is something they have to be there for because it is very real.

Yeah they have. They have changed the regulations under federal guidance to allow for reimbursement for phone calls. If we can’t set up a secure video link that’s a typical. But during the during this crisis insurance companies state federal governments are working together to make sure that people can can get access to care in whatever way is available to them. So just know that technology does not need to be a barrier. You can use a phone you can get therapy or psychiatry support wonderful.

We’ll circle back with you. Carl thank you very much.

Our next guest is Cindy Dodds and Cindy is the chief clinical officer at Summit St.. Good morning Cindy.

Good morning. Danny thank you for having me. I am pleased to be able to talk about this important issue today tell us a little bit about summit stone end.

Not only the services you provide but what you’re seeing and what people are getting a whole new view about.

So summit Stone is a safety net provider.

We offer both mental health and substance use disorder counselling services across the full age continuum. So we work with young children and youth adolescents adults and older adults so that entire population through a whole variety of services that could be more on prevention and and then could progressed into intensive treatment like intensive outpatient services for mental health or substance use disorder. We have in response to that pandemic very much like connections and heart centered counselling. We’ve moved to a virtual environment. So we are now providing those services through a telehealth link video link. We also can do it by telephone. If for some reason technology becomes a challenge we have worked very hard though we can’t coach people through that technology so they’re able to take advantage and use that service. The other piece that we do is we operate a crisis our crisis services. So we operate a 24/7 seven days a week crisis line that people can call really to get support and to do some planning and so it could be a crisis and I think sometimes people think well I’m struggling but I’m not in crisis yet. And we would say really anybody that is struggling they could give us a call. We can help do an assessment for them come up with a plan for them. Broker services for them and then we also do an outreach call 20 24 hours later to make sure that that plan is working for them and a face on that call the situation is such that people are in crisis where they need even more than a telephone response. We have a mobile team that can go out and also provide services. And we’ve worked very hard through social distancing and technology such that we could potentially respond to a location drop off an iPad through social distancing and then conduct that session where we’re closer to the individual needing support. But doing that in a way that can be protective of everybody. We also have a crisis stabilization unit. So that is a place where people can come and adults can come up and stay up to five days to get some additional support wrapped around them and come up with a plan. Then as they transition back into the community all of our crisis services are offered regardless of ability to pay. So we very much want to be that resource and help to broker services either into some stone or to another provider that will best meet their needs. And I think some of the things that we’re seeing we’re really starting to see within requests for services folks that haven’t typically looked at. I’m reaching out and asking for care and really see that as a sign of strength. So we have had people that have been business professionals that are becoming overwhelmed with what they’re having to manage and looking to get resources in support and caring for themselves folks that have had to do layoffs and the impact of that and needing to make those decisions and how that has impacted their own mental health and or folks that have been laid off. So I think we’re really we started to see more people die as a result of covered are seeking care specific to that that could be short term care or it also could bridge in to longer term care that could be individual counseling psychiatry those types of services that very much want to be a place where people can access resources and we can help get them into care with us or into it into care with another treatment provider that would best meet their needs.

You know that’s interesting Sandy that you brought up the people who are in the business world who are worried about their workers and their businesses and laying off people and trying to hold it all together it’s a whole another layer of crisis and you have a 24/7 crisis line and it sounds like you have the telehealth or virtual or the phone ability as well.

Do you find that people hold off thinking that my crisis isn’t really that bad because every year there’s a lot worse going on. So mind is that important do you think that you mentioned something about encouraging people to call early when they feel that they might be going into crisis so that they don’t wait for too long.

Yeah absolutely. I think sometimes because this is a crisis line people will go I don’t rise to that level and really I think as we are looking at dealing with a pandemic we are.

I think as a as a nation as a world we’re really looking at a trauma response where I think that you know we live in that that place that can be a little bit like a fight flight or free survival mode. And so I think sometimes people get stuck with that and we would really like to encourage when you’re there when you’re struggling with do I need help do I not need help. What would be some of the structures I could put into place to help me deal with this situation. We would like to be on the front end of that and can help talk people through what they need help them create a plan and then also be that resource to follow up with that what 24 within 24 hours make a call back to them and say How is that going for you and what else do you need. So we very much would like to be part of the solution in helping people as they move through this which I think is we are now starting to look at what is the new normal and what is it going to be like as we move through this.

I think what will be a longer term situation for us thank you and what is again your phone number for people to get a hold of summit stone and your Web site.

We are a main telephone number is 9 7 0 4 9 4 forty two hundred and our website. This don’t help that org. I also mentioned within our Web site we have several.

We have a whole array assessment tools that people could just check in on anxiety depression alcohol use substance use. We also have a my strength app which really can. People can download for free. They can customize it. They can help with mindfulness meditation exercise all the things that would help support good overall well-being during this time.

OK. Two things that if anybody wants to jump in and address substance use.

Are you finding that’s a bigger problem than usual and domestic violence. I’ve been hearing that this is have been going up.

Would anyone like to address that if I could jump in for just a moment. This is girl with heart centered counseling. I just want you know I think that what we’re seeing you know we know that alcohol sales are very high right now. We know from a recent U.N. reported as well as many other reports the domestic violence is significantly on the rise. And what I think we’re seeing is we’re seeing people who are struggling to manage their emotions at this time and reverting back to ways in which they can try to self sued. For example with alcohol or when we’re not are not attending to feelings like their anger and having that come out sideways in the form of domestic violence and these are these are things they’re really hoping we can get ahead of by I think between the great work that some students are doing as Cindy was pointing out that the connections program is as Kristen was pointing out that we’re doing here at heart centered counseling. The hope is very much that together as a community we can encourage people to reach out and get care so that they’re not reverting into old coping styles but instead learning new ways to cope and using this as an opportunity to learn and grow and become who they can be and not defaulted into into old into old styles that haven’t been as meaningful or supportive as they could be.

Thank you Carl. Cindy would you like to weigh in on that.

Yes I would. So we have I think very much to to follow up with Carl is out we have actually started to see an uptick in our request in terms of people saying they are are struggling with substance use and looking to get some support and doing that.

So we’re we’re happy that we’re it’s really just been within the last week to 10 days starting to see an uptick in people reaching out and really would encourage people to think about those things that they’re doing to sell to which could be addiction. It could be gambling. So any of those alcohol use drugs gambling really those pieces to think about how they how they are looking at doing that and what are some ways that they could scale back around that and if they’re having difficult difficulty in scaling back with that reaching out for help thank you.

And Kristen we were touching on substance use issues and domestic violence issues.

Thoughts from you on that I just really want to echo everything that Karl and Cindy have said.

What we’re seeing an increase in substance use or any other of these coping skills that people are using is a reaction to the uncertainty and the stress and the chaos that people are experiencing at this point in time. So I hope the listeners are taking away with them that there are resources heart centered connections summit stone. We’re all here together in a partnership so that we can let people know that help and resources are available.

I have to say that our communities are very lucky to have all three of you onboard during this tumultuous time. Certainly Gordon would you like to say anything to close out the program on your end.

Well I’d just like to echo your sentiments. Our community is just very well served by these three wonderful organizations. I want to thank each one of them for what they’re doing.

Salute me How about you Nick.

Well just a quick heartfelt thank you to you Danny and Gordon and Kristen Carl and Cindy for your your expert advice and resources.

You know what one message that really resonates with me too is it sounds like it’s really best to be proactive and not wait for a crisis to develop a secret sauce just sooner rather than later. So thank you for that and all that you’re doing.

I think that’s a great takeaway. I heard that loud and clear too. Don’t let it get to a point where it’s you know really hard to manage go ahead and make those calls make those connections even if you’re early on you feel like you’re maybe not really in crisis but you don’t know these people can certainly help you figure that out and come up with a plan for you.

Let’s just go around one more time and everybody give their phone number Web site starting with you Kristen.

The number for connections is 9 7 0 2 2 1 5 5 5 1.

And our Web site is Health District dot org sending some sound health that main telephone number is 9 7 0 4 9 4 4 4 2 0 0 0. And our Web site is summit help dot org.

And Karl.

Yeah you can reach us here at LifeStance Health at (970) 310-3406.

And you can find us online any time at heart centered counseling dot com.

OK thank you all so much for joining us this morning. We really appreciate it.

This is K R FC eighty eight point nine F.M. radio Fort Collins community work. I’m Denny look around. And have a safe day out now. Thank you very much.