Lynchburg healthcare workers are helping people cope with the emotional toll of the pandemic

LYNCHBURG, Virginia. – Nanci Dodson is a community health worker with Horizon Behavioral Health and is part of a team that goes door-to-door in Lynchburg, reaching out to underserved communities during the pandemic.

“We can all say how tough the year has been, but I think for some people in different circumstances it’s been a lot harder,” Dodson said.

Georgia Robinson was a resident who received a wellness check on Tuesday. She says she feels closed since a car hit and killed her 23-year-old daughter last November. One man was charged with a DUI.

Robinson is now caring for his granddaughters, aged five and three.

“I am now raising two little girls. I don’t know how to deal with the loss of my daughter. I try. These little girls cry for their mom. So it means a lot to me to know that there is help for me, ”said Robinson.

This help comes from health experts who distribute care kits containing information on mental health, counseling, housing and employment.

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Medication lockers are available for people struggling with drug addiction.

“We can’t really get to the root of the problems if we don’t talk about why they start in the first place,” Dodson said.

Horizon Behavioral Health says only half of Americans have access to services.

“Here in the Commonwealth, we’ve seen a 300% increase in online alcohol sales, around 30% of adults are reporting trauma-related symptoms and around 11% have had suicidal thoughts,” Damien Cabezas said. , CEO of Horizon. Behavioral health.

The organization has received approximately $ 100,000 in federal stimulus funds to help with prevention, and they have distributed 400 bags since they started on August 26.

Executives say their goal was to distribute 1,000 care packages in four weeks; but they received such a good response that they doubled their target to 2,000 care packages until September.

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“We’re just trying to give them an alternative and let them know that people are there for them,” Dodson said.

If you need help, you can call Horizon Behavioral Health at 434-455-5000.

Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.

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