Innovation, technology helping mental health, substance abuse

Ben Henry
Updated: January 10, 2021 11:27 PM
Created: January 10, 2021 01:10 PM

With vaccines and a better understanding of how to care for those with COVID-19, the end of our tough days is ahead. While some have feelings of hope, others continue to struggle with mental health and substance abuse during this difficult time. 

The pandemic has increased the difficulty as it creates new challenges, anxieties, and triggers for those who are trying to overcome addiction or poor mental health.

M Health Fairview recognizes this and has created new opportunities called Transition Care Services for its patient to receive the care they need — and quickly.

With such sensitive and crucial issues surrounding mental health, such as substance abuse, depression or thoughts of suicide, timing can be key. Sometimes people have to wait days or weeks for the care needed — this program is aiming to eliminate that problem.

“There are windows of opportunities for the treatment,” said Dr. Rich Levine, a mental health emergency specialist with M Health Fairview.

“When somebody is coming in for help, or the crisis is something that brings them in for help, that is that window of opportunity,” he added.

Patients will be able to receive in-person, or virtual care right away from professionals within M Health Fairview's network. Located inside its Mental Health and Addiction Clinic, there will also be safe places for people to be and use technology to connect virtually, in case doing so from home is not safe.

The program is also partnering with Minnesota Recovery Connection to offer its Mobile SUDS program, a first-of-its-kind “mobile support program that brings alcohol and drug addiction care to people out in the community,” according to M Health Fairview.

It’s had success: Jennifer Berheim says she is closing in on six months of being sober after struggling during the pandemic.

“COVID is scary, alcoholism is scary, and together it’s just tough to deal with,” Berhiem said.

She’s battled addiction for more than 20 years, and the Mobile SUDS program has helped her through some of her toughest days. She’s dealt with isolation and job loss because of the pandemic.

If you think this new program can help, please reach out here.


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