Lighthouse launches hotline to help individuals impacted by COVID-19
Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Centers has created a hotline to help connect those impacted by COVID-19 with local resources and support.
The COVID-19 impact hotline will be available to individuals in Carter County and throughout the southern Oklahoma area at no cost.
“We want to help with linking them to these resources, we want to help them get the counseling services that they need. Any resources that they’re in search of that we can help get them linked up with,” said Amy Burnam, the team lead for the program.
Lighthouse, the community behavioral health center for southern Oklahoma, has continued to provide mental health services over the course of the pandemic and has seen a need for other resources in the community. Burnam said many of their clients have been adversely affected by loss of employment or lack of food resources.
Some areas have also directly correlated with mental health. “The impact of COVID-19 and being quarantined and things like that warrants a need for counseling services,” Burnam said. Substance abuse has also increased during the pandemic.
“During any tragedy we see an uptick in substance abuse,” Burnam said. “Sometimes substance abuse is triggered by depression and anxiety, and those are things that kind of go hand in hand with COVID-19.”
The hotline was created as a part of a contract with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The national organization’s Disaster Technical Assistance Center helps local providers plan for and respond to behavioral health needs after a disaster.
In response to the pandemic, the center has erected contracts with many local agencies across the nation to help provide resources to those affected by COVID-19. “Every county in the state of Oklahoma is actually working on this contract,” Burnam said.
Resources available through the COVID-19 impact hotline include counseling services, public assistance, educational resources, substance abuse programs, employment services, food resources, housing resources and more.
Individuals who call in will be connected with an outreach worker who can then provide referrals to treatment services or any support that is needed, Burnam said. The list of resources is also continuously growing as the Lighthouse team meets with various agencies across the community.
The COVID-19 impact hotline is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and can be reached by calling (844) 384-5034.
“It’s an important program because people are affected by COVID-19 and that needs to be addressed,” Burnam said. “Those resources need to be given out to them so they can make an improvement, get what they are in search of and get what is needed for them.”