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Social distancing during COVID-19: Buckner expands counseling services to offer digital help

During a time of uncertainty and isolation, Buckner counseling leaders are providing resources available to support mental health. 

Dr. Amy Curtis, Buckner director of counseling, is creating weekly videos to help provide support and information throughout this season. With government and medical leaders offering new contact limitations each day because of the coronavirus, concepts like "social distancing" and "quarantining" are the new norm for many.

You may be encountering new feelings and a lot of changes during this time, but Curtis says to remember you are not alone.

“I am a seven on the Enneagram – so very extroverted, on-the-go, social. Social distancing isn’t even in my comprehension, so this has been very challenging for me,” she says. 

She frequently video chats with friends, her community group and team members to stay connected with loved ones and co-workers. 

Curtis says in the past two to three years, anxiety and depression have been on the rise, and she and her team are bracing for the reality that all of that could increase.

“Everyone is so unsure about what it will look like in 30 days, 60 days, six months," she says. "Many of our clients are stunned, because this is all so new to everyone.”

To help a larger group trying to navigate the current crisis, Curtis and her team are also offering Buckner clients and families video conference devotions. This week, many Family Pathways participants gathered and focused on John 14:1-3, "a reminder to not let your hearts be troubled," she says. "They each shared the ways they were working to reduce anxiety and strengthen their faith in this time.”

“It was amazing how many saw this as a season of rest. One is choosing to focus on two things: her relationship with Christ and her relationship with her child,” Curtis shares. “It’s encouraging we have this video conferencing platform where we can continue to meet the needs of our clients.”

Finding ways to be encouraged and inspired during the crisis is a great way to shake off the fear and uncertainty. For Curtis, she has been inspired by the flexibility and kindness of the Buckner staff in the ever-changing day-to-day operations. “I have never felt so fortunate and blessed to work with such a great team,” she says.

With the ability to access counseling digitally, Curtis encourages anyone in need to try it out now. Many may not have had the ability to take the time away from family or work before, so this is a great opportunity to connect with someone and begin that relationship.

“There is no reason to feel alone or isolated. Groups you may not have heard of before are now ‘virtual’ and connecting with them has never been easier. Church Bible studies, mom groups, book clubs, devotionals … many places are now hosting it all online!” Curtis says. “What a great way to meet new people and feel less isolated – while also developing new friendships and connections with others.”

Finding a method of relaxation that works for you, such as yoga, meditation, exercise, prayer or breathing techniques, is also important for maintaining your mental health.  Most of all, find ways to connect while maintaining social distancing precautions.

“If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, do not stay isolated," Curtis encourages. "Or if you are struggling to find peace, reach out and find a good therapist. Sometimes it takes someone else introducing you to the techniques or practices."

In the coming weeks, viewers can expect more videos from Curtis and her team on how to find support, community and encouragement during COVID-19. Check the Buckner coronavirus blog for the most recent updates and resources.  

If you or your family are in need of support or help, please contact Amy Curtis at acurtis@buckner.org and she will connect you with the right resources.

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