Psychological Triage is the Best Method to Quickly Determine Mental Health Needs

Mar 16, 2021

Quickly identify mental health needs by using Psychological Triage. Kimberly Pullen from Mental Health & Wellness provides additional information.

With the reported COVID-19 pandemic one-year anniversary of lockdowns now upon us, millions of individuals are succumbing to the pressures placed on their seclusion in a harmful way. Kimberly Pullen of Mental Health and Wellness Group makes a case that with the tremendous number of individuals currently seeking mental health services, mental health practices must engage in some form of Psychological Triage to be able to quickly assess and meet the existing demand and need for care. Psychological Triage is a rapid mental health strategy used during a disaster or other emergency to quickly identify individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis/emergency and provide immediate support.

Many individuals are experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency under the current conditions, while others are simply at-risk for potentially chronic mental health disorders. Psychological Triage systems are being used across the country. As a proven evidence-based system, Psychological Triage helps as an emergency response to rapidly assess individuals and match them with support services if/when needed. Johns Hopkins University, Sacramento State, University of Minnesota, and many other universities – along with general practitioners – currently train for and use Psychological Triage skillsets.

Currently, mental health providers are struggling to meet the demand for their services. While everyone is focused on the supposedly deadly COVID-19 virus, the mental damage being inflicted on persons of all ages has been largely ignored. Between restrictions on the availability of service providers to perform their jobs – and the increased need for such services – a veritable crunch has occurred, with many persons who need assistance being katy-barred at the door, due to a lack of resources to help them. Psychological triage is a technique for determining crisis intervention treatment priorities and needs following a crisis or a traumatic event, much like a Pandemic. Use of this strategy is especially important whenever the number of psychological trauma victims exceeds the number of available crisis interveners.

In some counties nationwide, suicide deaths out-pace COVID-19 deaths. If this issue is not properly addressed, we may find that the cure kills more people than the virus! With so many business closures and bankruptcies, people who thought that they were on top of the world are seeing their world crumbling around them. “There simply are not enough mental health service providers available to handle the onslaught of ready and willing clients,” states Pullen. “My focus is to help individuals suffering from pandemic pressures heal quickly, re-energize, and be reminded of their inner strengths. I work with my clients to be efficient in how they perceive reality, encourage them to regain a renewed appreciation for life and ensure they can express their emotions freely and clearly. I achieve this by providing a neutral safe space-listening to their fears, doubts, and concerns-which enables me to assess their needs quickly and encourage their ability to return to the productive functioning they previously enjoyed.”

One might think that these high-risk individuals are suffering from substance abuse problems. While substance abuse addiction does take-up a good percentage of those affected by these issues, an increasing number of individuals are facing challenges posed from eating disorders, a lack of social interaction (especially among children and the elderly), depression, isolation, hopelessness, domestic abuse/violence in all its varieties, and other mental ailments. Suicide ideation is also a very real risk, in this environment.

While in-person methods still rule the day as the most effective treatment method, immediate, online tele-therapy may be the most effective and readily available alternative for some and can be accomplished in the comfort of one’s own space. The need to schedule an office visit can be replaced by tele-counseling from the privacy of one’s own home, erasing the stigma for some who feel long term-therapy is not what they need nor can afford. Psychological triage is a short-term intervention process conducted prior to point of entry to health services used to assess and categorize the urgency of mental health-related issues. It is FIRST AID for the mind. Psychological Triage Specialists play an active role in their client’s swift recovery and healing. Psychological crisis intervention is superior to multi-session psychotherapy post-disaster for reducing acute stress because the results are quicker and are designed to fend off post-traumatic stress.

MH&W Group, which can be found at mymentalhealthandwellbeing.com, provides online and in-person counseling services which can help to bridge the gap between depression and personal freedom.

MH&W Group provides Psychological Triage services to identify each client’s exposure to the social and business impacts of the virus remediation steps and their effect on each client. This allows them to prioritize the need of prospective clients, and to rapidly determine the best method of counseling and treatment, to save individuals and their families from demise. Triage involves matching resources to the patient – based on limited information – as quickly as possible.

The psychological effects have been largely overlooked by government programs, leaving a gaping hole in coverage and rescue opportunities for people who may have lost everything, without ever experiencing the virus, first-hand.

Children are especially hard-hit, as their worlds have come to a sudden stop. Rather than being able to socialize and engage with other students at school, they are now sequestered in their homes taking online classes via computer, which minimizes the effectiveness of their education, and worst of all, losing that social interaction which is so important to adolescent development. We KNOW this. This is a shame, because all medical indications show that children are the least likely to suffer from the virus, as well as the least likely to spread it. Unfortunately, political agendas and misinformation through social media and mainstream media have over-ridden common-sense, and the youngest among us are suffering the most. The results from this can be long-term.

Most parents seek to have children return to school, but the orders of the day are preventing that. This puts time and financial pressure on families. With families forced to be together and to interact 24/7 when that is not a part of their normal daily routine, anxiety can creep-in; family members become agitated and negative feelings can often erupt into anger, aggression, or violence. This is especially true when families are experiencing financial pressure due to reduced employment hours or job loss and increased expenditures for childcare.

If your family is experiencing these difficulties, do seek assistance. Whether the pressure points are financial, societal, or governmental, they all lead to mental health issues and must be addressed. “I want people to learn to grow beyond their stress and develop skills that will assist them in becoming resilient to further disturbances” states Pullen. “I focus on a nurturing, healing process-empowering my clients to move forward in life. Even my youngest clients benefit from triage counseling. Kids are people too, and most often they are unable to articulate or express their needs and concerns. We must be there for them during their time of need.”

If you are feeling suicidal, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

If your needs are not so urgent, seek professional mental health care in Redding, by contacting Mental Health and Wellness Group at 1-530-560-2187. They provide services in-person, via phone, or through online tele-counseling, and can refer you to other local resources when needed.

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