March 31, 2020 – Ohio State mental health experts are reaching out to patients, as well as the general public, suffering from anxiety and depression amid the stress of social isolation, financial hardship, illness and uncertainty associated with living under the cloud of COVID-19.

Patients seeking care at Ohio State’s Harding Hospital for behavioral health have been steady in recent weeks, while people dealing with COVID-19-related anxiety are turning up in the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s emergency department, according to Harding Hospital Executive Director Amanda Lucas, MEd, MBA.

Ohio State’s Harding Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health are working with community partners such as Netcare Access, a mental health and substance abuse service of Franklin Country, to screen patients in the medical center’s emergency department and provide crisis service as needed.

COVID-19 is taking a toll on many people who live with generalized anxiety and major depressive disorder.

“Some people are concerned about the virus itself, while others are concerned about how quarantine and social distancing may impact their ability to cope with symptoms of their mental health conditions,” Lucas said. “Still other patients are worried about employment and finances while many businesses are shut down. Patients with interpersonal difficulties are concerned about how they will maintain healthy boundaries and connections with family and friends while they quarantine.”

Telemedicine is one way our mental health providers have been able to stay connected with patients during the pandemic while minimizing exposure to the coronavirus. “We transitioned essentially our entire ambulatory operation to telepsychiatry in a matter of days … to ensure that patients’ access to care was not interrupted,” Lucas said.

At the same time, the university’s mental health providers are reaching out in as many ways as they can, such as promoting access and services on the department’s website and social media channels. The goal is to convey to the public that Ohio State’s Harding Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health are available to patients and the community. 

“We are here for you in this crisis,” Lucas said.

From Our Experts

Ohio State's Stress, Trauma And Resilience (STAR) Program continues to serve patients recovering from traumatic experiences. During this crisis, STAR is also offering daily coping tips to help anyone who is feeling overwhelmed. Read these tips here.

How you can help

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The James/Wexner Medical Center Development Office
c/o The OSU Foundation
PO Box 710811
Columbus, OH 43271-0811

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