Austin Center for Grief & Loss offers telehealth services for those coping with COVID-19 related stress

It’s the first day of Austin’s stay-at-home order and officials are cracking down on how much time is being spent outside of your home. But what about the inside? Some may feel off-course while adjusting to their new normal.

The Austin Center for Grief & Loss is offering telehealth services to support people in our community coping with additional stress resulting from concerns regarding the coronavirus/COVID-19. Services can be accessed through your phone, computer or smart devices.

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"Everyone in the community is experiencing some level or sense of loss. Loss of job, sense of security, loss of home, loss of social identity with friends and even families that now can’t see one another," Center executive director Kim Nugent-Anderson said. "In addition to that there’s loss in the children that had to go from immediately to school from a moment’s notice and they’re cut off from their peers and teachers to some degree and also the college students to some degree all of these populations are grieving.

“But it hits certain populations more than others so they decided to expand to meet the growing needs of the Austin area.”

Clinical director Scott Van Camp says they want to practice what they preach: resilience. He’s also a licensed marriage and family therapist.

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He says with something traumatic, people really get thrust forward in a way that can cause clinical anxiety symptoms, like shortness of breath and uncontrollable, cycling thoughts.

Van Camp says difficulty sleeping and depression are two sides on the same coin. At first, staying at home feels like freedom, then it feels very scary especially for those spending an increased amount of time on social media.

Some clinicians have offered to do pro-bono work for those who can’t afford services. There’s also a sliding scale to meet everyone’s needs, and in the next few weeks, they’ll offer virtual group meetings as low as $15 per session.

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“If we’re holding onto that idea of what once was or what happened yesterday we’re really going to be hurting, we’re not going to be mindful and we aren’t going to be present," Van Camp said. "You can use apps like Zoom to have coffee dates with friends or double date or really be creative. Different times call for different coping practices.”

The center says all it takes is the initial phone call. Those who are interested can call the center at 512-472-7878 or visit their website.


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