Both Diane and I have written about some of the difficulties that occur when individuals are isolated and how challenging it is to deal with isolation effects during a period of time where we are in a stay-at-home situation and creating social distancing in how we live. It is for some individuals quite devastating.
For those who have used different drugs to help their anxiety this is a time where it is even more problematic to stay in control. For those who have a history of substance abuse these moments of chronic stress and fear can easily lead into using those substances as a way to cope. Since substance abuse groups cannot meet it adds more to the pressure. I heard that social media has been used as a way to keep connected. I hope those groups will grow and make themselves available to those who are struggling with substance abuse issues.
Two good developments have appeared due to the new stimulus package by the United States government. Here are summaries of these two new opportunities.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will receive $425 million to address mental health and substance use disorder needs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, including:
- $250 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to increase access to mental health care services.
- $50 million for suicide prevention, to provide increased support for those most in need of intervention.
- $100 million in emergency response grants, flexible funding to address mental health and substance use disorders, as well as to provide resources and support to youth and the homeless, throughout the pandemic.
- Certain federal privacy restrictions, called 42 CFR Part 2, have been revamped to allow health professionals who treat substance use disorders to share patient records for care coordination purposes, if a patient consents. At a time when treatment is increasingly provided remotely, and when any one patient may be receiving care from multiple providers, this will help streamline things. The provision includes strong patients’ privacy protections under HIPAA, and law enforcement are prohibited from using patient records for investigations.
Telehealth can also be an opportunity to speak with someone right from your home. For more information you can read the Shatterproof blog.
Coping with COVID-19 for those who have struggled with substance abuse can be completely overwhelming. If you know someone who is in those circumstances encourage them to seek resources and contact them. It is my hope that these newly developed resources will truly provide options for help until we can re-engage our normal support systems.