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Virginia receives grant to help tackle mental health consequences of COVID-19

Posted at 6:22 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 19:07:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- While the physical tolls of the COVID-19 pandemic are obvious, the mental health effects of living during a pandemic are just as profound.

Life coach and counselor Tracy Fauntleroy of 'Transforming Lives N2 Purpose' knows first-hand the struggle and stress that the pandemic and living in isolation has placed on countless people, particularly those already struggling with mental health issues.

“It’s a time of uncertainty and people tend to panic when they don’t know what’s going to happen. They have a tendency to go into anxiety when they can’t control their circumstances,” Fauntleroy said.

For some people, the increased stress, anxiety and financial insecurity mean that some people could slip back into old habits including substance abuse.

But Fauntleroy said that she is encouraged by a two million dollar grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration given to Virginia to address the dangerous behavioral impacts of COVID-19.

The federal funds will work to provide direct treatment services through Community Services boards, and enable interventions via telehealth for alcohol use disorder, depression and trauma related disorders.

“It’s necessary and it is needed. I’m grateful they are recognizing the need for this right now. This lets me know they care. They care about people’s needs and people’s well-being and mental status,” Fauntleroy said.

As she counsels an increasing number of clients through the pandemic, Fauntleroy also encourages friends and relatives to routinely check in on those who may be suffering.

“They don’t want to accept that something is wrong. They don’t want to accept that they may be depressed. Isolation is a form of depression. When you have someone not returning calls and not wanting to be bothered, check on them. To me that’s an indication that something is going on internally that they’re not willing to express outwardly,” Fauntleroy explained.

During Mental Health Awareness month, Fauntleroy uses her writing and 'Transforming Lives N2 Purpose' podcast to underscore to those suffering that help is available and they’re not alone.

Fauntleroy has recently written a book called No More Excuses, aimed at helping readers through their own 21 day journey. Those seeking more information on her counseling and life coaching services can make contact through www.transforminglivesn2purpose.org.

If you know someone struggling with mental health issues who needs assitance, call the National Crisis Hotline number: 1-800-273 TALK.

Virginia Together: The Rebound Richmond campaign is here to help. Find information on who is hiring, investigations into unemployment payment issues, financial advice on making ends meet, and mental health advice on managing the pressures. These stories will be featured often on CBS 6 News and can be found by clicking this link.