Coronavirus in Tennessee: Mental health professionals offering free services for healthcare staff, first responders

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A group of East Tennessee mental health professionals have teamed up to offer a free service for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The group, made up of about 20 licensed mental health professionals, are specifically offering five free telemedicine appointments.

The service is for anyone battling COVID-19 in our hospitals, from doctors to housekeeping staff. It’s also for the first responders dealing with the virus, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs.

Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Joshua Williams, said when treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), research shows talking about your experiences can help you in the long run.

“We’re accustomed to dealing with trauma in the hospital, but not in the kind of numbers we’re seeing right now. This is an ongoing, slow-moving, huge trauma, for people working on the front lines,” Williams said.

If you’d like the free help, you can call or email:
865-246-7040 or e-mail volunteermentalhealth@gmail.com

If there are providers in the community who would like to pitch in, Williams also encouraged them to reach out.

Williams said the free service can help those wanting to talk with someone outside of work, away from family, and in confidence.

The service, he explained, can help you answer questions about coping, surviving, and caring for yourself and others during the pandemic.

“There are people in our community who are true heroes. They are rushing in where angels fear to tread. They’re risking contagion. They’re risking their own lives and even the lives of their families and loved ones,” Williams added.

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