The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched and tested health care systems and hospitals. It has done the same to the mental wellbeing of many, whether they are caring for patients in those hospitals, coping with stay-at-home orders or enduring the juggling of classes.
The Wayne State University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, recognizing the strain, is enacting an innovative new program to offer free assistance for members of the WSU campus community who may require assistance coping with the demands of the pandemic.
The program, called Warriors Strong Together, provides free mental health intervention to all faculty, staff and students of Wayne State University, and physicians and staff of the Wayne State University Physician Group, during the COVID-19 pandemic. As an added convenience, the services are available by telephone or videoconferencing per the caller’s preference.
“We know that everyone has their hands full during this crisis,” said David Rosenberg, M.D., professor and chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. “Our department has been deeply humbled and inspired by our colleagues on the front lines and what their efforts have meant working to keep our community and neighborhoods safe. We have also been motivated and inspired by the larger Wayne State University and UPG response and pulling together during the pandemic. Extraordinary times require unique approaches. Our department is trying to do whatever we can to support our university and UPG colleagues during this time.”
Those seeking assistance can reach the dedicated call center at 313-577-1596 seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., beginning March 30. Callers will be scheduled for a phone session or teleconference with trained professionals that day, within 45 minutes or less depending on call volume.
There is no charge for the first telephone or videoconferencing session.
If a caller does choose to enter into further treatment, Dr. Rosenberg said, insurance would be accepted and all co-pays waived. If a caller’s insurance does not cover further service, he or she will not be billed. If a caller decides to enter into further treatment but is concerned about confidentiality, Warriors Strong Together will provide outside referral information.
“During the period of the pandemic, our goal is not to generate revenue. We have been humbled and inspired by our colleagues on the front lines, and the way the whole Wayne State University community has pulled together underscores the Warrior spirit and resolve,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “We have considerable experience with telepsychiatry, videoconferencing and mobile crisis programs, and this Covid-19 special program is modeled on our experience and expertise in ongoing programs in the state of Michigan for other health care systems and first responders that has received national attention.”
Assistance provided during calls and teleconferences will vary based on the need of the caller, from supportive to crisis intervention. “Our goal is to make this as user-friendly for the recipient as possible and help them avoid long car drives, delays and inconvenience. In-person meetings and referrals will be available for those whose situation warrants this.”
The length of teleconference sessions will vary based on the caller’s needs. “We plan to be as accessible as possible,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “If the need and volume of requests becomes very high, we will hire additional personnel and increase the hours of operation.”