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Coronavirus prompts new therapy challenges, shift to video

Bend therapy clinic is now conducting therapy through video calls

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- For many people, getting outside is important for mental health. But with the governor's new stay-at-home order, self-isolation is now the top priority.

Bend Family Therapy is one of many local businesses that have closed temporarily. But they are continuing to see clients, through video therapy calls.

“To be honest with you, I was really against tele-video in the beginning," Kristin James a marriage and family therapist said. "But it’s actually been a lot better, and our clients are reporting (it to be) a lot more helpful than they thought it would be.”

The clinic has seen a 30 percent drop in their client numbers since they began working remotely. Their call numbers have also gone down from about 20 to nearly zero a day.

For the clients James is seeing, she said the coronavirus, “comes up with almost every client and every session right now.”

She added some of her clients have had increased stress and fear, and some have even reported minor insomnia due to the pandemic.

To ease the stress many are facing, James suggests people take up gardening, for example, or try some outdoor yoga. there’s also free guided yoga meditations on YouTube.

Lines for Life, a suicide prevention lifeline based out of Portland is changing the way they handle calls as well. Call counselors are practicing social distancing by now working from home.

“There are definitely challenges of working from home," said Greg Borders, the chief clinical officer. "Just like we tell the folks that are calling the lines, we are also telling our own staff to make sure you take breaks and make sure you go outside.”

Borders is expecting an increase in calls similar to the increase Lines for Life saw in 2008 during the financial crisis. He's also expecting an increase in first-time callers.

Borders stressed the importance of social distancing, but says it’s still important to have a social life during this pandemic. So Borders called it physical distancing. He suggests calling a friend or family member to still have some social contact in your life.

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

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