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By Michael Haederle

Help in a Crisis

UNM Health Sciences Employees Offered Free Counseling Services to Cope With COVID-19 Distress

UNM Health Sciences employees have had a lot to contend with over the past couple of months as the COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous strain on the health care system, closed campus and disrupted critical research.

The UNM Psychiatry and Psychology Faculty Clinic is stepping forward to provide support for any employees who may be experiencing distress, says clinic director Jonathan Bolton, MD, professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.

"We offer supportive therapy or counseling, and medication-based treatment is available, if needed," Bolton says. "All sessions are confidential and free, and no record of the session is entered into the electronic medical record."

Counseling is being provided via Zoom by the clinic's regular staff, as well as faculty and resident volunteers from the department, Bolton says. The service will be provided for the duration of the COVID crisis, and for a limited time afterward.

The counseling entails a short-term model of brief intervention. "Many people find that one or two sessions is helpful," Bolton says.

Although most people who are exposed to trauma don't develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), research shows that early intervention lessens the likelihood of developing PTSD in people who are susceptible, Bolton says.

"We're trying to reduce the odds that people will develop PTSD by time-sensitive intervention," he says.

Some of those providers and Health Sciences employees who request ongoing treatment will be seen by regular clinic staff, and some will be offered other resources, Bolton says.

To schedule an appointment, please reach out to clinic coordinator Dalia Thompson at (505) 272-6130.

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