COVID Support VT Clinical Supervisor Guides Vermonters in Reconstructing Lives
As re-opening plans proceed across Vermont, many people are experiencing heightened anxiety around “re-entry.” Whether that be re-entering the workforce after unemployment, the end of remote work, a return to social interactions, or reunions with long-separated family members, the challenges of re-engaging in a post-lockdown world have many of us on edge.
Clinical psychologist Cath Burns, Ph.D., a clinical supervisor for COVID Support VT and quality director at Vermont Care Partners, witnesses this every day in her work with Vermonters. As a mental health practitioner and facilitator for wellness workshops and support groups, she sees first-hand how re-entry anxiety is affecting people of all ages. She sees it not just in her patients and workshop participants, but in co-workers, neighbors, family members. Virtually everyone, she says, is struggling with pandemic stress and anxiety at some level.
Three Questions to Re-Set the Mind
In her workshops, Burns encourages people to reflect on their Covid experiences and try to find the bright spots. She guides participants through a series of three questions to help refocus the mind from loss to opportunity:
- What have we lost?
- What have we learned about ourselves?
- What has changed in our lives that we want to keep?
An Opportunity to Construct Our Lives Anew
With two teenagers at home, Burns practices what she preaches. Since Covid began, “Pizza Fridays” have become an institution for her family. They have used the communal meals as a way to intentionally check in and connect as a family. She hopes to keep the practice going as things open up, and encourages others to see the Covid wind-down as “an opportunity to construct our life again.”
“Write down something you want to hold onto, whether it’s related to work, family, or social connections. Put it on a sticky note where you can see it,” Burns suggests. “As you make decisions about how to move forward, think about what’s really important to you. Try to structure your life to honor those things.”
Free Virtual Workshops, Town Hall Aim to Bolster Mental Health
Burns and her team of COVID Support VT counselors offer weekly wellness workshops designed to bolster mental well-being. These offerings are free, online, and open to everyone.
- Coping with Covid: Re-Entry Workshop meets May 18, June 1 and June 15 at 1 p.m.
- Covid Recovery: Wellness through Gratitude meets May 18, June 1 and June 15 at 3 p.m.
- Covid Recovery through Wellness meets every Tuesday at 1 p.m. and every Thursday at 3 p.m.
- Writing through Covid meets every Friday at 3 p.m.
Customized workshops are also available upon request for virtually any mental health-related topic. Current topics include compassion fatigue, grief and loss, re-entry stress, and support groups for front-line workers. Fill out the Request Form here.
A virtual Town Hall May 24 will explore issues around re-entering the workforce. Presented in partnership with Mercy Connections, a Vermont organization known for its engaging “self-development” programming, this 1.5-hour Town Hall focuses on helping participants learn how to apply a strengths-based perspective to planning their next steps for returning to work. Sign up here.
Need to talk?
Call 2-1-1 (option #2) or 866-652-4636 (option #2) for free, confidential, one-on-one counseling. Our Support Counselors are available Monday – Friday.
If you or someone you care for is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can: call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-825; text VT to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7; connect with your local community mental health agency for 24/7 support.
One-click translation to 100 languages of most everything on the COVIDSupportVT.org website, plus Multilingual Resources & downloadable materials in 10 languages common to Vermont’s New American immigrant and refugee communities.
COVID Support VT is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, managed by Vermont’s Departments of Emergency Management and Mental Health, and administered by Vermont Care Partners, a statewide network of 16 non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and supports.