Dear Access Institute Community,
Throughout the first month of the “Shelter in Place” order, Access Institute responded to the needs of the hundreds of people served by its programs. We’re ensuring that everyone continues to have access to their mental health care. Now, we are stepping up that care as the needs for emotional and psychological support become even more critical. We know that we serve vulnerable groups of individuals, families, children, and seniors, so it’s no surprise to find that approximately 85% of them lost their jobs, lost income, or someone in their household lost employment or income. Many of the rest are working, but are employed in low-wage jobs where they are exposed to the virus on a daily basis. We have observed these direct impacts on the psychological and emotional health of our patients, including: increased symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. For most of these individuals, the stresses related to the COVID-19 Pandemic (fear of illness, economic hardship, social isolation) have exacerbated previous mental health challenges. Those who previously suffered traumatic life events (i.e. loss of employment or housing, a life-threatening illness or injury, loss of a parent or primary caregiver, sexual assault, or domestic violence) are more vulnerable to adverse mental health effects brought on by the Pandemic.