Here’s What CANMI is Doing to Help During the Pandemic
Like our community as a whole, we are very concerned about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are closely monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html) and the California Department of Public Health (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx). We have adopted policies and procedures that are recommended and/or mandated by the CDC, state and local guidelines, which can be found here (CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/index.html; Contra Costa County Health Services guidance for health-care providers: https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/healthcare-providers).
For those patients in outpatient mental health care, it is important to consider the need for and benefit of this care, in comparison to the degree of risk that is posed by interactions with others outside the home. Certain individuals are at higher risk of becoming very ill if they become infected with the coronavirus (CDC list of high-risk factors: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html). We will engage you in a dialogue, to arrive at a decision in a collaborative manner, about whether it is appropriate to continue with office visits to maintain your treatment. For individuals who are not in treatment with either TMS or ketamine, we can offer telehealth appointments, which should allow us to maintain your care without interruption. Because patients who enter treatment with TMS or ketamine are by nature those with an inadequate clinical response to other treatments, and therefore often a more serious need for these special treatments, these two treatments may confer a benefit that outweighs the modest risk of coronavirus exposure. This decision should be made with careful deliberation, with attention to the many particulars of your clinical condition and your current situation.
We will share with you the various recommended precautionary measures that we have adopted to minimize the exposure of patients and staff to the coronavirus. While there is no guarantee that any health-care service can completely eliminate the risk of exposure, the measures adopted represent best practices for this crisis, and we will do our best to keep each of us safe and healthy while delivering the best mental health care possible.
Take the Mental Health Survey and Share How You’re Doing During the Pandemic
In addition, our concern for health and safety during this time has inspired our program to develop a survey that seeks to understand how the crisis is impacting people. The Coronavirus Distress Inventory (CDI) is a short set of questions directed at the respondent’s demographic and clinical features, their emotional experience of the epidemic, impact on their function and well-being, and beliefs about the current state and future of the crisis. This survey can be accessed anonymously at no cost on the internet. For individuals who are prospective or active patients in our program, we will ask you to complete the same survey (in a non-anonymous manner) so we can use this information to better understand how the crisis is impacting you. We hope that this survey can aid in providing you with excellent care. In addition, we hope to make a broader contribution to the general knowledge of how the epidemic is affecting people throughout our nation and more globally. We invite you to join us in this endeavor.