COVID-19 with the “Delta” variant, along with the newest variant “Omicron,” has inflicted devastation on public health around the world; disrupting all aspects of life globally. As the unknown future of this ever-mutating virus continues, a largely unmasked nation walks the line of a “new normal;” celebrating the return to near-ordinary life with children returning to school and offices reopening their doors, while also masking up in large groups, travel restrictions in constant flux and continued news reports of hospitalizations.
Families have begun traveling again, foodies are flocking to restaurants, and even the Summer Olympics displayed an unprecedented sense of sportsmanship and smiles have been seen and shared for the first time in almost two years.
But behind the curtain for many frontline workers, this “new normal,” is turning out to be more of a Groundhog Day from hell. Nurses and doctor have been facing the resurgence in virus cases, finding themselves back in the trenches after what seemed to be a turning point in reported claims. Many hospitals have been forced to reopen Covid units; resurrecting feelings of guilt, sadness, and regret for those who have dealt with the pandemic firsthand.
As new cases and reported deaths of novel coronavirus continue to rise, these frontline workers and first responders are operating tirelessly to care for patients while fighting through the trauma of the last year. Battered and burned out, they no longer feel welcomed or appreciated by the same neighborhoods that celebrated them as “heroes,” during the pinnacle of the virus. Thanks to lingering staffing shortages, amplified by a pandemic that drove thousands from the field, doctors and nurses alike are plagued with depression and post-traumatic stress; while others face a work environment without their colleagues – claimed by the virus they were fighting against.
Working within high stress environments is familiar for first responders, law enforcement, emergency room and intensive care staff. Frontline workers have been trained to maintain a level of composure while performing complicated procedures like gunshot wounds, heart attacks, and patients coding. The COVID-19 pandemic introduced a new challenge to this group of professionals; a chronic level of stress and uncertainty that threatened both the physical and mental health of the frontline workers.
The emotional fallout has had a scattered effect, including workers leaving their life-long dream jobs, to suicides among health care providers. Doctors and nurses are finding themselves counseling peers – comforting those who blame themselves for infecting their own family. “They just can’t shake the guilt,” stated one frontline warrior.
When the COVID-19 outbreak erupted in 2020, medical professionals world-wide scrambled to acquire enough personal protective equipment for workers to care for those infected. Many health care providers and first responders were directly infected while responding to the pandemic, while others worked tirelessly to combat the spread. Doctors and paramedics, who are accustomed to responding to virtually any tragedy, had to shift their focus due to the risk of getting sick themselves, or infecting their friends or family.
Balancing moments of overwhelming joy, seeing patients returning home after surviving the virus, with the daunting tasks of treating several members of a family. Oftentimes, family members spanning multiple generations – down to children.
Mental health and addiction professionals who work with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) patients have witnessed firsthand the direct impact COVID-19 has taken globally. Hospitals and clinics reached and exceeded capacity, and funding for treatment facilities was diverted, leading to cutbacks and layoffs, leaving many of these clients to be marginalized and underserved.
In addition to halted medical treatments, authorizations for care to outside sources from the VA were also stopped due to the inability to be seen by case managers. Warriors Heart – a private treatment facility providing care for addiction and chemical dependency & PTSD for active military, veterans and first responders, have taken this into consideration and are continuing to serve those in need through various verticals.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate, nor does it wait for “the right time” for an addict to decide to get help. COVID-19 remains a global pandemic, and one of the questions lost among the thousands is, “What will kill our warriors first, COVID or addiction?”
Warriors Heart is an essential business that provides behavioral health care to active military, veterans and first responders in need, and they have continued to provide services through the pandemic, taking every precaution and procedural measure into account.
“We understand that the COVID-19 virus cannot be stopped from entering our compound, and that it’s not going away,” stated Warriors Heart Co-Founder, Josh Lannon. “We know how to successfully battle substance abuse and treat the undying conditions. COVID is also a treatable virus that can be managed. Sending patients home with a positive COVID test result, no treatment planning/protocols while still in active addiction, does harm to the warrior and breaks the Hippocratic Oath, ‘to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability’.”
Highly stressful situations affect people deeply and can create feelings of detachment or loneliness. Warriors Heart is fully equipped to provide much of the needed mental health care through tele-health services, including video visits with mental health professionals, mobile apps, online resources, and virtual peer support, as well as in-person treatment at their facility.
Isolation and depression have proven to get worse during social distancing. And while all the preventative measures put in place are to protect, Warriors Heart continues to do everything they can to ensure the addictions and mental health concerns don’t increase. Over 23 million Americans experience a substance use disorder (SUD), among whom only 10% access treatment. Patients need strong leadership, especially reassurance from the health care system.
Warriors Heart, is dedicated to communicating the message that they are open for business and positioned to treat patients safely and per the professional industry guidelines, through the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
For many, the risks of alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose are more dangerous and urgent than the risk of contracting the virus itself. Like the medical professionals in clinics and hospitals, the specialists who work in treatment centers are dedicated to helping during these unclear times.
As the pandemic looms with uncertainty in the months ahead, mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals play a vital role in addressing the symptoms in frontline health care workers, first responders and law enforcement. Treatment facilities anticipate having to provide care for these patients suffering from PTSD due to COVID-19, and aide on the recovery of these specific occupational hazards.
At Warriors Heart, Warriors in every walk of life are treated, offering a variety of treatment for those undergoing the damaging effects of PTSD as well as chemical dependency. For those who have fought battles to defend our country and protect our citizens, fighting the battle against addiction and depression doesn’t need to be done alone.
Call one of our admissions advocates to find out how we can help you become the sober confident warrior you truly are. 24/7, we are here for you. Call us at 1-844-958-1183 or fill in the form on this page.