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Local behavioral health specialists stress reaching out to vulnerable loved ones as holidays approach

Posted at 6:23 AM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 08:25:42-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - Thanksgiving Day is on the horizon, but as the number of COVID-19 cases rise across Arizona, leaving many vulnerable family members unable to gather, behavioral health specialists say it's important to continue reaching out.

Jon Reardon is the Chief of Clinical Behavioral Health at MHC Healthcare. He says there has been a significant increase in anxiety and depression because of the pandemic across Pima County.

Reardon said the impact to daily routines and inability to socially interact for many has led to this.

He added his biggest piece of advice for those struggling with feeling isolated is to seek out care.

“We are available and yes in these challenging times it can be difficult to come into a health clinic but by all means community health providers are available via telehealth," he said.

Michael Dattola, the Director of behavioral Services at El Rio Health told KGUN9 that at El Rio Health staff help those struggling with isolation but putting all of the services they offer at their disposal.

“What I do with patients who I interact with that aren’t doing so well is just to wrap around as many services as I possibly can," he said.

Dattola added staff at El Rio Health have also taken to checking up on patients via phone to make sure they're doing OK.

“We just do a combination of outreach both over the phone and through telehealth," he said.

He told KGUN9 he suggests that if you know someone who is struggling with isolation through the holidays, you should reach out to them in any way possible.

“I strongly recommend people to pivot and move over to things like we’re doing right now, through Zoom or FaceTime," he said.