Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Duneland Counseling offers free sessions for uninsured during COVID19 crisis

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By KEVIN NEVERS

For millions of Americans, and hundreds of Dunelanders, the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming a crisis within a crisis.

Thrown out of work, then ordered to self-isolate, because if they don’t they’re likely to be infected with a virus that can kill them: any one of these stressors is enough to debilitate a person’s mental and physical health, but stack them one on top of another and suddenly the whole world seems to teeter at the brink.

Unemployment isn’t simply a financial hardship. In a nation where health insurance is linked to one’s job, unemployment exposes folks to the brutal inequities of the U.S. healthcare system, at a time when some of us are going to need it most. Yet in the days of COVID-19 unemployment is one other thing too: an assault on self-worth, even a stigma, as vast swaths of the labor force have been told they’re non-essential.

Quarantine just makes everything worse. Human beings are social animals. Deprive us of daily physical contact with our friends and family, even our work colleagues, and we quickly become irritable in our cabin fever, frustrated, bored. We may begin to lose sleep, eat badly, or self-medicate. Our hygiene may suffer. Our relationships with our spouses and children may start to fray.

And then there’s the virus itself: invisible, lurking, and lethal enough for some demographics to be terrifying. Before this is over, we’re all going to know someone sickened by it, possibly killed by it, so there’s no sin in being frightened by it.

God knows, there are plenty of anxieties to go around right about now. But Dr. Jeanne Trifone of the Duneland Counseling Center, 215 W. Indiana Ave., across from the Westchester Public Library, wants people to know that they don’t have to go it alone, that there are coping mechanisms readily available, that there are professionals able to help.

Specifically, the Duneland Counseling Center--founded in 1999--is offering three free Telehealth sessions for those struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but are without or have lost their health insurance. The Telehealth sessions are available either through a phone call or a link for a HIPPA-compliant video session sent by text or email.

Meanwhile, those who still have health insurance should know that most plans cover 100 percent of the Center’s counseling services.

Call 921-0705 for an appointment.

Talking to a counselor can do wonders. Simply knowing you’re not alone in this thing, that there’s a shoulder to be had and lean on, can be enormously calming. But Trifone also suggests that there are small but highly effective ways--minor disciplines really--for Dunelanders to take matters into their own hands. “This is a scary, unfamiliar, and uncertain time for most of us,” she said. “It is important to identify aspects of your life in which you feel empowered or in control, such as planning healthy meals, taking a walk in your neighborhood, or hiking on one of the area’s many trails.”

Quarantine, moreover, is hardly the same thing as incommunicado, Trifone emphasizes. It’s absolutely vital to maintain connectedness. “Most important, reach out by phone or social media to persons who may be struggling with social isolation,” she said. “Cheer them up with stories of good times you’ve shared and things you can enjoy again when restrictions are lifted.”

On the other hand, Trifone urges folks not to try to tough it out on their own, because there’s no need to. “If you continue to struggle, please give us a call,” she said. “One of our staff members would be glad to offer support.”

 

 

Posted 4/9/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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