Mental Health & Substance Use Care
TIP: Brush up on your Psychological First Aid skills – an evidence-based early intervention strategy that can reduce and mitigate psychological sequelae in response to crisis or traumatic situations.
- Watch this 17-minute video on Psychological First Aid created by Dr. Jess Calohan, DNP, PMHNP-BC.
- Supplement with this slidedeck from Dr. Julian Ford at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
Browse the SAMHSA COVID-19 Resources for guidance specific to the issues mental health and substance use treatment providers are navigating. Below are a few highlighted excerpts.
Domestic Violence & Child Abuse
Conditions around COVID-19 may stimulate violence in families where it didn’t exist before and worsen situations in homes where mistreatment and violence has been a problem. Nurses should screen patients for intimate partner violence and child abuse and inform them that there is help available:
- See this tip sheet for supporting survivors’ access to SUD and mental health services during the COVID-19 emergency
- Make patients aware of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and share their information around staying safe during coronavirus.
- Connect patients with local resources through the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women.
Care & Treatment Considerations
From Considerations for the Care and Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders in the COVID-19 Epidemic:
- Use outpatient treatment options to the greatest extent possible and reserve inpatient facilities for those for whom outpatient care is not an adequate clinical option
- Use telehealth services to provide evaluation and treatment of patients, including evaluation for use of buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder and individual and group therapies
- Consider CDC guidance on precautions admitting new patients and management of residents who may have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19
On May 7, 2020 SAMHSA certified that mental health and substance use disorder treatment are essential medical services and may require personal protective equipment
- A growing body of evidence suggests that tobacco use is a risk fact that contributes to COVID progression and higher risk of mortality. Learn more in this fact sheet from the National Behavioral Health Network.
Behavioral Health Organizations
From the Disaster Planning Handbook for Behavioral Health Organizations:
- Reach out to other behavioral health treatment programs in the community to collaborate and assist displaced populations (p.16)
- Your local or state public health department’s emergency manager can provide targeted planning assistance and serve as a link between the programs and broader disaster planning and incident response efforts. (p.17)
- Clients need to know how they will be informed if the program closes or changes its hours of operation, what they should do if they cannot access services, or if they begin to experience a physical or mental health crisis (p. 34)
Nursing Care & COVID-19
In a pandemic, priorities shift. It is important to keep up-to-date with nursing best practices and competencies in a public health emergency.
TIP: Register for this ANA 3-Webinar Series: Be Confident Protecting Yourself and Providing the Best Care to Your Patients during this COVID-19 Pandemic.