Published On: Thu, May 14th, 2020

Pandemic Creating Mental Health Issues for County Residents Coping with its Impacts

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been extremely stressful for many within our community. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress is critical to avoid losing control.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your family
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like health care professionals and first responders
  • People who have underlying mental health conditions including problems with substance use

To combat these feelings of helplessness, the county has a network of services available to assist our residents.

The Palm Beach County School District 

PBCSD has launched 561.432.6389 as a hotline number for mental and behavioral health concerns which will be supported by the district’s mental health professionals from 8AM – 4:30PM Monday-Friday.

Children’s Bereavement Center

Provides free virtual grief support groups for Middle School Youth, High School Youth, Adults (Spanish), Adults (English). Registration is required. For more information visit childbereavement.org/support-groups/child-family-groups/palm-beach.html or call 888-988-5438.

Palm Beach County Youth Services Department

Continues to provide direct services to the community during the pandemic. Telephone therapy sessions are ongoing at this time. Any families in the program who feel the need to talk to their therapists should call 561.625.2540.

The Youth and Family Counseling (YFC) school based counseling services have been suspended until Palm Beach County Schools resume classes.  YFC will continue to service clients via telephone. Anyone wishing to talk to their therapist may call 561.242.5714.

The Education & Training Center suspended all in-person didactic trainings. They will be scheduled at a later date and offered remotely. Psychological evaluation services are suspended until further notice. Therapy appointments will continue by telephone. Anyone wishing to speak with their psychologist or therapist may call 561.233.4460. 

The Family Violence Intervention Program (FVIP) attendance to court hearings has been suspended. FVIP will continue to service clients via telephone. Anyone wishing to speak with their FVIP Court Case Advisor or the Program Coordinator may contact them directly. For additional information and/or resources, please visit our website or contact our main office by telephone at 561.242.5700.

Children’s Home Society, Palm Beach County (CINS/FINS & Safe Harbor)

Non-Residential services can be done virtually and/or by phone during this time.

CINS/FINS Prevention Services (Children In Need of Services/Families In Need of Services) call 561.868.4456, 24/7 FREE Non-residential Counseling for youth ages 6-17 and their families.

Clinical Services: Individual and Family Counseling (IFC) provides services to children and adults struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges, through in home, at school and telehealth counseling.    Contact information: 561.868.4300 and email referrals to [email protected]

Safe Harbor Shelter Program Respite: Services for youth, ages 10-17 who may be in crisis and need respite-struggling with parents. Counseling available for families. Domestic Violence respite and Probation respite services also available. Contact information: 561.868.4456 (for both) 24/7. For additional info: www.chsfl.org/

Pace Center for Girls Palm Beach County

Currently has openings for telehealth Therapy services provided through our Reach Program – these services are for any girl residing in Palm Beach County, 8-18 years of age. Contact 561.472.1990

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) PBC

Can help navigate individuals or a loved ones experiencing anxiety, depression, loneliness or other mental health challenges to mental health support. Individuals can be connected to a resource or therapist if they are insured or uninsured. Resource line: 561.588.3477. namipbc.org

Chrysalis Health 

Provides mental health, substance use disorder and medical services using secure Telehealth technology to individuals and families on Medicaid benefits. Call 954.587.1008 ext. 1 or visit website at chrysalishealth.com

The Salvation Army

Emotional and spiritual care hotline is available to all residents by dialing 844.458.HOPE (4673). Hotline is available 7 days a week from 9AM – 9PM.

The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness 

The Alliance offers low-cost, outpatient therapy for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured in Palm Beach County. It remains open virtually.  Contact The Alliance for more information at [email protected] 

Individuals who have experienced or are experiencing eating disorders, and their friends and family supports can find help at allianceforeatingdisorders.com/.  A database of eating disorder clinicians and treatment providers, is available at  findedhelp.com/, For personalized referral services, please call The Alliance: 866.662.1235 

Alzheimer’s Association Support Groups

To find a free support group to join, please call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900

The Palm Beach & Jupiter Vet Centers 

Currently open for Veterans and their families. Meetings with individuals, groups, families and other services are being provided by phone and video. If veterans, both established clients as well as new, wish to speak with a counselor or schedule an appointment, please call: Jupiter Vet Center 561.422.1220 or Palm Beach Vet Center 561.442.1201. A list of smartphone apps for self-help & coping strategies compiled by the VA can be accessed at: mobile.va.gov/appstore/all

The 24-hour hotline for Veterans in distress is 800.273.8255.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services

Virtual support groups related to anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus are available. For more information call 561.852.3333 or visit: ralesjfs.org

Alpert Jewish Family Service 

Currently open for business and still serving their clients and taking new clients using a HIPPA compliant version of Zoom call 561.684.1991 or visit AlpertJFS.org

Drop-In Support for Domestic Abuse during COVID-19 and meeting every Thursday at 9AM during the pandemic at  alpertjfs.org/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?action=frm_forms_preview&form=ors9z3322

Palm Beach County Victim Services & Certified Rape Center

To avoid possible COVID-19 exposure victims should avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital unless injuries need immediate medical attention. Sexual assault services provided by PBCVS are free and in a confidential and private setting. To reach an advocate at any time, call the PBCVS Helpline at 561.833.7273.

PBC Victim Services Facebook Page and PBC Victim Services Virtual Book Club

Catholic Charities Counseling 

Anyone suffering from stress/anxiety/fear due to the COVID-19 pandemic can call 844.848.6777 for Tele-Health Counseling Sessions. Call to schedule appointment or email: [email protected]  For more information: ccdpb.org/covid-19-pandemic-response/covid-19-pandemic-response.html.

Florida Blue 

Offering a 24-Hour Toll-Free Helpline with Free Bilingual Emotional Support 833.848.1762. This service is a partnership with New Directions Behavioral Health, which connects individuals with specially trained behavioral health counselors learn more.

Mental Health America Palm Beach County

Due to Coronavirus office is closed. The following services are still available remotely:  MHA Helpline phone support and navigation 561.501.4357, Support calls to MHA Phoenix Club and Peer Place members, Group and individual support via Zoom video meetings, Access to online support through the MyStrength app, Messaging and posts for Phoenix Club and Peer Place members via private Facebook group, Free telehealth counseling with clinical psychologist for uninsured individuals.

Drug Abuse Treatment Association (DATA)

The free “Want to Chat” program is available for youth or adults experiencing anxiety, depression or stress and would benefit from learning some coping skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more, call 561.844.3556, Monday – Friday, 8AM – 5PM.

Spiritual Care Hotline

A service by Florida Baptist Convention relief agency offers prayer and comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chaplains are not mental health professionals but have received training from mental health professionals at the Heart Peace Counseling Center in Deland. Hotline is available daily from 8AM – 8PM at 888.829.5004.

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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