MONROE, LA – As the number of COVID-19 cases reduces and the number of COVID-19 vaccinations increases, Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) encourages the public to get vaccinated and adhere to safety guidelines.
NEDHSA serves as a resource for credible information, evidence-based services, and guidance during this global pandemic. NEDHSA developed and continues to develop innovative ways to provide personalized outreach for those with behavioral health issues, addiction, and developmental disabilities through its integrated healthcare model and prevention and wellness services for youth, seniors, and the community at large.
Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, executive director of NEDHSA, said these individuals are among “the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The need for our community to get vaccinated can’t be overstated,” Dr. Sizer said, who has participated in four statewide COVID-19 events during the pandemic.
“This pandemic is only increasing the level of anxiety and trauma for those who are already dealing with mental illness, developmental disability, addiction, and primary health challenges,” Dr. Sizer said. “It is essential for us to do everything we can to help people remain hopeful and focused on our collective regional recovery efforts and encourage them to get vaccinated. That’s why in the coming weeks, our pharmacy will offer opportunities to our clients and staff.”
As communities get vaccinated, NEDHSA’s Prevention and Wellness Department partnered with the National Guard-Region 8 COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force to provide information on behavioral health and prevention and wellness services in Franklin, Ouachita, and Richland parishes COVID-19 vaccination sites.
In May 2020, NEDHSA conducted an online survey to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on citizens’ behavioral, physical, and social health in the service region and beyond.
In August 2020, NEDHSA released the results and revealed 30 percent of respondents were concerned with having a loved one or household member get COVID-19. More than 18 percent were worried about unknowingly giving someone the disease while they showed no symptoms themselves. The results revealed more than 21 percent of respondents reported increased loneliness, sadness, depression, frustration, irritability, or anger. Each age group of clients reported feeling an overall decline in mental health, with 31 percent of the 18 to 25 age group reporting a decline in mental health.
“We are and have been aware of how negative social determinants of health interacts with and exacerbate COVID-19 related behavioral and primary challenges,” Dr. Sizer said. “This is why we strongly urge the communities we serve to get the vaccine so that we can robustly tackle the challenges together. For us to rise like a phoenix, we have to go sleeves back Louisiana.”
NEDHSA created a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page on its website to keep citizens of northeast Louisiana informed of the active response to this pandemic that features emotional wellness and grief counseling webinars and other resources. The page is accessible by visiting https://nedeltahsa.org/covid-19/.