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Tanner News

Willowbrooke’s Help Line Provides Easy Access to Mental Health Screenings, Telehealth Appointments

Willowbrooke at Tanner’s behavioral health professionals want everyone in west Georgia and east Alabama to take stock of how continued social distancing and hardships caused by COVID-19 may be affecting them.

“Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, there’s no better time to take a step back and consider how you and your loved ones may be feeling. It’s perfectly natural to feel a little lonely, stressed or anxious — and perhaps even angry or depressed — during difficult times like these,” said Kenneth Genova, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist and executive medical director of Willowbrooke at Tanner. “But, if you are feeling extremely anxious, are having panic attacks or are severely depressed, we urge you to seek help immediately, whether you call Willowbrooke or one of the many free national or state crisis hotlines.Kenneth Genova, MD

Even as Georgia approves the reopening of various types of businesses in phases, social distancing continues to be required — with masks strongly advised — to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“People are geared to be social,” said Dr. Genova. “Most of us enjoy the in-person activities of talking, hanging out, eating, working, watching movies, going to church, shaking hands, high-fiving and hugging. It’s hard for us not to be able to do these things. Naturally, our stress is compounded by not knowing when things will go back to ‘normal.’”

According to Dr. Genova, wearing — or not wearing — a mask can also add to our stress levels.

“While most of us do understand the importance of wearing a mask to protect each other from a virus that we can spread unknowingly or unintentionally, masks add another layer of isolation,” said Dr. Genova. “You can’t see someone smile, pout or frown behind a mask, so communication can be a challenge. You also may feel angry at those who refuse to wear a mask in places where it’s hard to practice social distancing, like the grocery store.”

For those who need help processing the stress, anxiety and depression that the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified, Willowbrooke at Tanner has established an easy-access Help Line — a part of Tanner’s Care Your Way.

Call 770-812-3266 at any time to learn more or to schedule a free phone screening with a clinician, which will be followed by an appointment for a telehealth visit with a licensed therapist.

For more information about Care Your Way, visit tanner.org/careyourway.