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Cherry Health calls attention to how the pandemic changes mental health services are delivered

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As the nation continues to recognize National Mental Health Awareness Month, Cherry Health, in Grand Rapids is calling attention to how the pandemic changed the way mental health services are delivered.

“The pandemic hit all of us pretty quickly and many of us pretty hard and I think the need for mental health services was significant within the last year.”

Trisha Waun is an Outpatient Therapist at Cherry Health.  She says because of the increased need, they had to quickly adjust their services to help those with mental health needs during the pandemic.

“We had to quickly acknowledge that that need existed and pivot our strategy for meeting the needs of those struggling with mental health concerns in our community and telehealth was the way to do that.  I think it allowed people to stay connected and get the help they needed to address those concerns .”

In fact, Telehealth became such an important tool for those needed mental health and substance abuse support that sixty percent of their 260-thousand patient visits were conducted through telehealth in 2020.  And now, with many pandemic restrictions on the way out, Waun says that does not mean they will end their telehealth services.

“I think we will continue to make our services as accessible as possible.  I foresee that telehealth will continue to be an offering.”

Waun adds it’s important to recognize the signs of those who may need mental or behavioral health assistance. She says look for signs or symptoms such as a shift in someone’s mood, a shift in energy levels or capacity to function in relationships or work place settings and more. Waun says if anyone recognizes a need in a loved one or themselves, they can call Cherry Health for help at 616-965-8200.