AMERICARES: Americares offers mental health training during COVID-19

Mike Demas / Americares
Americares El Salvador Clinic Continues Care During COVID-19

In the spring of 2021, Keila and her family battled COVID-19. Keila’s physical symptoms weren’t bad, but the isolation during quarantine took a toll on her mental health. Things worsened when her daughter Camilla was born and rushed to a large hospital an hour away; Keila’s husband watched over the infant, leaving Keila recovering by herself, unable to have visitors.

“I felt alone and separated,” says Keila. She reached out for help from Gardner South Clinic, an Americares partner and safety-net clinic that serves low-income, uninsured patients in Keila’s hometown of Gilroy, Cal. Americares provided Gardner and more than 50 other safety-net clinics in California with mental health and preparedness training for health workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The training is part of Americares efforts to build capacity for behavioral health services in safety-net clinics around the world.

“We’ve been seeing more and more patients in the clinic showing some kind of depressive state,” says Guadalupe Perez, clinic manager at Gardner Health Center in nearby San Jose. “Pandemics don’t bring good things to anybody. Whether you’re in health care or education or anywhere, it just brings an additional stress.” In the worst cases, Perez and her team saw patients who were in a crisis state. “We were able to implement the Americares training and calm the patients down,” says Perez. Keila received behavioral health care on the phone, via telehealth. Having that access made a huge difference in her life.

Americares partners with local health centers: When local health centers thrive, so do people in their communities—with better health and more opportunity. Americares supports over 4,000 health centers in the U.S. and around the world, including Gardner South Clinic.

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