Md. offers support for long-term care staff experiencing ‘feelings of desperation’

Working with COVID-19 patients who die takes a toll on caregivers, so Maryland is making a concerted effort to offer mental health support to staff in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

“We’re providing lots of different types of assistance,” said Dr. Aliya Jones, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Health’s Behavioral Health Administration.

The Maryland COVID-19 Mental Health Crisis Support Program is being offered to people working in 122 facilities in operation throughout the state.

“We want to make sure that people who are in dire, emotional straights know that there is help available and reach out for help rather than succumbing to feelings of desperation,” Jones said. “We want to prevent any potential suicides, loss of life, because of emotional distress during this time.”

Some of what is available includes webinars on grief, loss and resilience; support groups provided in a telehealth format; and individual emotional support.

“We’re looking to do some other things, as well to broaden the net through some other initiatives,” Jones said.

And you, too, can help by making smart choices to avoid becoming the next person to catch or spread COVID-19 to someone who will need care.

“Support those who can’t get out of the way and who have to, and who have chosen to, operate in the vocation of caretaking,” Jones advised.

People with non-urgent requests for help can apply online. If you have an urgent request, you can contact the program at 1-800-648-3001.

If you’re experiencing a more immediate crisis, Maryland’s Helpline is available 24/7 to provide support, guidance, and assistance by online chat, by calling 211 and selecting option 1, by texting your Zip code to 898-211 or by visiting 211 Maryland.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255); or you can text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). People who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.

If you’re concerned about a friend’s social media updates, the National Suicide Hotline
recommends you either contact the social media outlet directly or call 911 in an emergency.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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