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USM Psychology Clinic Offering Services to Support Local Healthcare Providers on Frontline of COVID-19 Pandemic

Thu, 04/09/2020 - 14:09pm | By: David Tisdale

Dr. Nora CharlesTo provide the best care possible for their patients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, health professionals across the state must be mindful to also take care of themselves while facing the uniquely stressful challenges of the crisis.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Psychology Clinic stands ready to help them meet those challenges by offering up to three free 50-minute telehealth sessions for health professionals and their families. These sessions include evidence-based psychological services for stress and emotion regulation, among other issues, that can help health professionals gain critical coping strategies for the workplace and can help family members cope with how this situation affects them.

Clients are given the opportunity to explain how they are feeling and what they are going through while receiving support from the clinician, and gain tips and learning skills to help them going forward. The clinic’s 20 graduate student clinicians are clinical psychology doctoral candidates supervised by faculty members who are Mississippi-licensed clinical psychologist faculty members. Sessions for continuing clients and select new clients are now delivered via Zoom videoconferencing.

“The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program’s faculty and students believe it is important to continue to provide mental health care to the USM community and the Pine Belt region, particularly during this stressful time of a global pandemic,” said Dr. Nora Charles, interim director of the clinic and an assistant professor of clinical psychology. “This is why we have rather rapidly expanded our services to include telehealth.

“It’s a trying time now for healthcare professionals who are working longer hours, doing new tasks, and dealing with more harrowing situations than is normal, with many worried about bringing COVID-19 home to loved ones, so they may not be spending as much time at home as normal,” Dr. Charles said. “Their families may also be struggling because they are worried about their loved one’s health, and also missing them at home. It’s understandable that healthcare workers and their loved ones would be stressed or overwhelmed right now, and we want to help.”

These new clients can receive services beyond the three free sessions for a reasonable, income-based fee. Healthcare professionals living and working in the Hattiesburg area will receive priority but anyone residing in the state of Mississippi is eligible to receive services. For information, call the clinic at 601.266.4588 and leave a voicemail identifying yourself as a health professional, details about your situation/need, along with contact information. A graduate student clinician will follow up with a call in response to the requests.

The USM Psychology Clinic typically serves children, adolescents, and adults. At present the clinic is focused on serving existing clients and new healthcare professional referrals only. However, the clinic expects to expand these services in the near future and others may call 601.266.4588 for placement on a waiting list.

The USM Psychology Clinic is housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences School of Psychology. For information about the clinic, visit https://www.usm.edu/psychology-clinic/index.php.