The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly created a new normal, both for people providing therapy and people receiving services. Telehealth, or virtual healthcare provided over video and phone calls, created a critical bridge for services. For Lee and her family, transitioning to telehealth kept their well-being on track.
Lee’s journey with the Mental Health Center of Denver began about two and a half years ago. She wanted to find mental health care for her daughter that was close to home and worked within her family’s insurance. Lee and her family live near the Mental Health Center of Denver’s Wellshire Behavioral Services clinic. Between the physical proximity and the services offered, it was a perfect fit.
Maddy, Lee’s daughter, began seeing Licensed Professional Counselor Taylor Easley at Wellshire. Within a couple months, Taylor moved to Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being in the Northeast Park Hill neighborhood. While this threw a bit of a wrench in the “close to home” condition, Lee and her family loved Dahlia Campus.
“When we, as parents, felt like our entire world had fallen out from under our feet, suddenly we found this safe place in Dahlia Campus,” says Lee. “It was like this warm, big hug.”
Soon, both of Lee’s children were referred to Voz y Corazón, our art connection group for teens. Her family was at a stable place and their well-being was good.
“Last October, Maddy started slipping and all the tools that had worked in the past weren’t working anymore for her. She ended up going into a day treatment program and it was phenomenal. The whole time, Taylor was supporting us through email and phone calls,” says Lee. “When Maddy finished the program, Taylor brought up the idea of intensive home treatment, which sounded like a dream come true. Taylor got everything set up for us and transferred us to [Licensed Clinical Social Worker] Julie Werner, who has been our family therapist since January.”
Lee also began seeing her own therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Laura Harter, almost two years ago. As she says, “If you’re looking for help, find somebody with a license!” Lee and her family now work with Laura and Julie for both individual and family therapy.
Switching to Telehealth
When businesses, schools and organizations began shutting down due to COVID-19, the transition was rough for many people, Lee’s family included.
Lee says, “The first couple weeks were overwhelmingly emotional. I wasn’t able to answer questions for my kids and my parents were overseas – my emotions were up and down. To still have all our appointments with the Mental Health Center of Denver in place, though, was a relief. I can’t imagine my daughter and I would be where we are today – which is in a very good place – without having those appointments with Laura, Taylor and Julie.”
With the Mental Health Center of Denver’s rapid transition from in-person services to telehealth, Lee and her family were able to maintain their regular therapy schedules. Lee described the transition as odd and foreign at first, but she quickly got used to it.
“I’d never used telehealth before or had a desire to use it. I’ve always been more of an ‘in-person’ person. This model has surprised me, though! It’s easy and beneficial for me and my family. It’s different, but it’s not a bad different. I know we’re looking at new norms as our lives change. When it’s safe for us to resume in-person services again, we’ll probably still use a combination of telehealth and our regular appointments at Mental Health Center of Denver,” says Lee.
Moving Forward as a Family
As our community continues to adjust to this new way of living, Lee and her family are finding their footing. As a family, they practice self-care by staying active and keeping their therapy appointments. They provide meals for people who need them. They take walks and listen to podcasts. Lee understands that this is a difficult time for so many people, especially the people on her family’s care team. She says, “Laura is still able to provide security and calm for me, even when I know this is affecting her, too. It affects all of us! I cannot speak highly enough of everyone from the Mental Health Center of Denver. You are the highest caliber of people, and my family and I are so grateful for all of you. Thank you!”