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MESILLA VALLEY HOSPITAL

Social worker advises ‘self-care,’ reaching out to support groups during Covid

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Inpatient and outpatient services at Mesilla Valley Hospital (MVH) have seen “a dramatic increase in patients needing substance use treatment during the pandemic,” said MVH Director of Business Development and Outpatient Services Jeanne Resendez.

Substance abuse and other behavioral health issues related to Covid-19 are sometimes the result of isolation, said Desirae Rosenthal, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who oversees outpatient services for MVH.

“When you remove a certain level of socialization,” Rosenthal said, it can “result in some maladaptive behavior.”

For many people, isolation has meant being at continuous close quarters with family members, which can lead to conflict and sometimes to behavioral health issues, Rosenthal said.

In all cases, Rosenthal’s advice is to slowly and safely “reintegrate back into your support group” to help with recovery and with more normal socialization.

She also recommends that you “take some time to self-care.”

“The number one thing I tell people is, ‘Take time to do something you enjoy and make yourself fulfilled,’” Rosenthal said.

That might include volunteering – safely -- for a local animal rights organization or one of many local nonprofits. There also are athletic activities that are safe to participate in, including games you can play with others, like tennis, while maintaining social distance, she said. Running, hiking and biking are also possibilities.

Or, you might consider taking up a hobby, Rosenthal said.

You can learn about painting and drawing online, for example, and look for local art classes. And, there are many other hobbies to consider that can be enjoyed in complete safety, alone or with others.

Rosenthal also recommends finding someone to talk to about how you are dealing with Covid.

The pandemic is a national crisis, she said. “We need to recover from that.”

MVH, which opened in 1987, can make referrals to therapists and counselors who can help people talk about their emotions surrounding the pandemic and help with their recovery, Rosenthal said. She said people can also visit the newly opened Doña Ana County Triage Center at 1850-B Copper Loop.

Contact Mesilla Valley Hospital, 3751 Del Rey Blvd., at 575-382-3500. Visit mesillavalleyhospital.com.