Importance of mental health resources during COVID-19 pandemic

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Department of Human Services is focusing on making sure Arkansans are taking care of their mental health during this time of uncertainty.

Many of us are experiencing a lot of loss right now, which can take a toll on our mental health.

“The job. Loss of a freedom to go everywhere you want to go. Loss of contact with family and friends,” Paula Stone said.

Paula Stone with the Arkansas Department of Human Services wants to make sure every Arkansan knows help is available for anyone who needs it.

“You may not need it forever and you may only need it for a short amount of time,” she said.

If you have insurance, you are most likely covered for services like counseling. Call your insurer to see what’s available to you.

“But if your insurance company doesn’t have counseling services that you’re looking for than DHS has a way for you to get those services,” Stone said.

If you have Medicaid or are without insurance coverage and can’t pay for treatment on your own, DHS can help you pay for therapy. You can call the DHS Mental Health and Addiction Services Support line at 844-763-0198. It operates Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Importance of mental health resources during COVID-19 pandemic

Importance of mental health resources during COVID-19 pandemic

The person on the phone will set you up for your first appointment. You will work with that provider to schedule an appointment to discuss what services you may need

“You can tell about how you’re feeling, what’s going on and they will perform an assessment. Sometimes just talking to that person one time is enough to help,” Stone said.

Counseling services may also look a little different because of social distancing, like FaceTime appointments. Telemedicine is available.

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“There’s also therapists that have been able to allow somebody to come and just sit in a parking lot or just a safe zone of a school,” Stone said.

Stone wants people to forget the stigmas around therapy during this uncertain time.

“I hope that they are open to have the help that they need and reach out for that help,” she said.