Aside from the flu-like symptoms of COVID-19, the virus is also taking a toll on mental health. Carris Transue, clinical supervisor for Thrive Behavioral Health, works mainly with kids and families struggling with mental health. She said there’s been a spike in stress and anxiety surrounding this pandemic.
Thrive, aside from working with kids and families, also assists with adults with persistent mental illness, substance use issues, residential care and housing services.
“For Kent County, we can really cover all the needs,” Transue said.
Recently, COVID-19 has affected the clients Transue sees. But not in the ways it has already impacted the five Rhode Islanders confirmed to have it. She said that last Tuesday,
only one patient of her six scheduled appointments showed up. Overall, Transue said the near perfect attendance for clients showing up to the office has changed to seeing only about half of them per week since the virus gained global traction. She said families don’t want to risk coming into the center for their appointments and aren’t open to inviting clinicians into their homes.
Transue has tried to make the Thrive office a space for kids to come in and talk about their thoughts and feelings regarding the virus. A major cause for fear among youth, Transue said, is because of social media. Misinformation, rumors and panic have spread online. Her advice to the public is to research the facts from trusted sources, but also to keep physical distance from one another and wash hands regularly.
“I, personally, am just doing a lot of hand sanitizing and keeping distance,” Transue said.
Teaching their clients is something Transue said is important for those who feel uncertain and for parents trying to keep their kids healthy.
“The population we serve already has underlying mental health issues,” Transue said. “So they’re already vulnerable to feeling things more intensely.”
Transue suggested taking a break from social media as a way to lower the stress attached to the virus and calling a doctor with any present health concerns. For parents, Transue said to trust their judgment if their child is showing signs of illness and follow what the schools are suggesting.
On Friday, Governor Gina Raimondo announced schools will take April vacation for the week of March 16-20. She urged students to stay home, avoid social gatherings and prepare for distance learning. As of now, it looks like classes will be taught online after the weeklong break.
Transue said the Thrive serves everyone in the Kent County area. The phone number for Thrive Behavioral Health is 691-6000 to request information and set up an appointment. They also have a 24-hour hotline that anybody, even non-clients, can call for assistance by dialing 738-4300.
Transue joined Beacon Communications last Thursday for Episode 2 of the Radio Beacon podcast. The full episode can be found on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, Overcast, PocketCasts and Radio Public.