The University of Kansas Health System reports an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients today. 25 people with the active virus are being treated, up from 24 yesterday. Of those patients, nine are in the ICU, the same as yesterday. Four of those patients are on ventilators, down from five yesterday. 13 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID-19 but are out of the acute infection phase, up from ten yesterday. That’s a total of 38 patients, up from 34 yesterday. HaysMed has two recovering patients, after reporting two active patients yesterday.
On today’s Morning Media Update, we continued our look at the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. Justin Hoover, Executive Director of The Battle Within, checked back in with Adam Majors, Frontline Therapy Networks clinical coordinator.
They discussed how patients are screened for services and how mental health professionals are holding up during the pandemic.
Justin Hoover says while the pandemic has been challenging for all of us, it’s been especially hard on veterans, first responders and frontline medical personnel, groups with a culture that sometimes makes it hard to seek help. Those are the groups of people his organization, The Battle Within, helps with emotional and mental health support by providing six to ten free therapy sessions, and confidentiality is guaranteed. For many veterans, he says COVID-19 has been similar to being deployed in combat and it’s vital to treat their mental health needs before they fall into the pit of despair, depression and suicide. His organization covers 22 states and Puerto Rico, and he’s noticed a big spike in those reaching out for help, which is says is good news. He thinks one silver lining to the pandemic is people are more likely to seek help, which lessens the stigma of mental health. His main message is it’s okay to ask for help.
Adam Majors is a veteran and author of The Battle Within curriculum. He helps pair the right counselor with the right client. He says many people think a warrior, veteran or first responder seeking help must have a problem with PTSD or some kind of trauma. The fact is most of those clients need help for the same reasons as the rest of us. Providers themselves are no strangers to seeking mental help and he sees colleagues, including himself, reaching out to one another. He described the signs and symptoms to help someone realize they may need help and urges anyone who’s suffering or has felt emotional trauma for more than a few days a week and more than a month to find help. He says therapy works and urges us to check in with people we care about to ask how they’re doing, and then ask how they’re REALLY doing.
David Wild, MD, VP of Performance Improvement, was in for Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer. He discussed what parents should be asking their pediatrician about their children getting the Pfizer vaccine, newly approved for children aged 12-15. He also said the health system would begin scheduling kids in that age group as soon as the CDC advisory committee gives its okay, expected later this week. He pointed out that kids who get COVID-19 are not getting it in the classroom but in the community or from extracurricular school activities. He agrees nothing about the last year has been easy and advises those feeling overwhelmed to seek help. He says getting help is like removing one stone from a glass of water to keep it from overflowing.
Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at The University of Kansas Health System, said even if children 12-15 have food or peanut allergies, they should still get the Pfizer vaccine as soon as it gets the final approval. Side effects in that age group are the same or less as those in the 16 to 25-year age group. He urges parents to get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible, which could account for a one more segment of our population, as we strive to get closer to herd immunity.
Wednesday, May 12 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Media Update. Our focus on mental health continues with a closer look at what our pediatricians are seeing in their clinics and in their inpatient admissions. Dr. Steve Lauer, Dr. Mike Lewis and Dr. Stephen Lassen report more and more appointments and admissions stem from mental health issues causing physical symptoms in many cases and cause for alarm. They will offer signs to watch for that your child needs help and tips for keeping our youngest population safe.
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