Training Prepares Providers, Public To Offer Mental Health Support For Those In Covid-1 Isolation



Baton Rouge, La – As thousands of Louisiana residents with COVID-19 diagnoses and symptoms care for themselves in isolation, they may experience anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns. In collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Office of Behavioral Health (OBH), the Louisiana Affiliate of Mental Health America, the Mental Health Association for Greater Baton Rouge (MHA), is partnering with Louisiana Healthcare Connections, a Medicaid health plan, to provide free clinical trainings to mental health providers and to the general public to prepare them to address the needs of those living in isolation.

“Social isolation and loneliness can increase feelings of depression and anxiety, and lead to negative health consequences for those with chronic mental health conditions,” said Melissa Silva, MHA Executive Director. “We want to reduce these risks by increasing the availability of appropriate mental health support for those who need it, and making this training available at no cost to providers and to the public is allowing us to do that.”

The MHA worked with Louisiana Healthcare Connections to utilize the health plan’s existing training infrastructure and team of clinically trained educators to provide the training series. The web-based series features six 15-minute courses. The trainings are accessible via any mobile smart device, and are available on-demand to allow clinicians to complete the courses at their own pace, on their own schedules. The courses are designed for Peer Support Specialists and Mental Health Rehabilitation (MHR) providers, but are available to the public. The skills and information may be useful to anyone facing or supporting someone with anxiety, grief or depression in this time.

The training series includes the following courses:

· COVID-19: An Overview

· Helping the Helper

· Effective Communication

· Communicating With OARS – A Motivational Interviewing Approach

· De-Escalation

· Anxiety and PTSD

The courses are available online now, free of charge, at www.LAHealth.cc/covidtrainings.

In addition, clinicians may access a full menu of additional behavioral health trainings via Louisiana Healthcare Connections’ comprehensive clinical training catalog. The health plan’s Training and Education Course Catalog features more than 50 free, web-based courses, many of which offer Continuing Education (CE) credits related to licensure requirements. Providers may learn more and register for upcoming courses at www.LAhealth.cc/training.

“As our state works diligently to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we are immediately responsive to the needs of those fighting this virus,” said Stewart Gordon, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Louisiana Healthcare Connections. “Making this training available at no cost to healthcare providers, and to the general public, ensures that our residents have access to the quality mental health support they need to overcome the adverse effects of isolation.”

Behavioral healthcare providers statewide are encouraged to take advantage of these free trainings. To learn more or to register to take a course on-demand, please visit www.LAHealth.cc/covidtrainings.

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