Counselors continue to staff mental health talk line
By Amy Monzingo
The constant barrage of coronavirus news and numbers is overwhelming. That's on top of the uncertainty and added jobs people are taking on at work and home. "Twenty-twenty is throwing a lot of us for a loop,” said Amy Monzingo, MS, NCC, LMHP, LMHC.
Monzingo has been in the counseling field since 1997. She said 2020 is a year like none other. “What's kind of interesting too is that it's impacting everyone in some way,” Monzingo said.
In April, Methodist opened a free emotional support help line so people could talk about their mental health. The number is (402) 815-8255 (talk). This free, confidential service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. To 4 p.m. And is staffed by licensed professional counselors from the Methodist hospital community counseling program. The counselors can assist callers who may be experiencing feelings such as fear, anxiety, sadness and depression.
Counselors have taken nearly 200 calls and offered more than 55 hours of support.
"How to how to handle being at home, how to handle working at home, parenting kids, parenting kids, well, schooling them, you know, and also a lot of the social unrest, things that have gone on too,” Monzingo said.
As the pandemic worsens, Monzingo said feelings of anxiety, fear and isolation can worsen too.
She said it's important to focus on what's at your fingertips. "I'm in control of this right now. That's what I’m focusing on. I can be more productive, present and not lost in the spiral of the what if's,” she said.
She adds something doesn't have to be wrong to call. "When you get to the point where you go, okay, this doesn't feel right. If you don't have to wait until you crash and burn, before you go in,” she said. Monzingo said people are taking on tasks they don't normally have and are trying to give 100%.
“There are so many things going on right now. and that it's okay to give yourself a little grace, to be able to say, you know what, it's okay, that right now, I'm not at my ‘A’ game,” Monzingo said.
She said it's important to exercise, reach out to people, and take time for self-care. Counselors are there if you just want a listening ear. "It's not about being strong. It really isn't. It's about saying, okay, maybe I need a little input from somebody else,” Monzingo said. link to video interview
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