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Region Ten crisis counselors discuss their own struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Region Ten building in Albemarle County
The Region Ten building in Albemarle County(wvir)
Published: May. 5, 2020 at 11:15 AM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Crisis counselors at Region Ten are speaking out about their own mental health struggles as they continue to take calls during the COVID-19 crisis.

Region Ten’s Emergency Services handles a variety of cases, ranging from those dealing with serious mental illness, to people struggling with addiction or abuse. The organization mainly serves the City of Charlottesville, as well as Albemarle, Louisa, Fluvanna, Nelson and Greene counties.

Crisis counselors, including Region Ten’s Director of Emergency Services Curt Gleeson, say their workload is taking a greater toll because of the instability everyone is feeling with the pandemic. It’s difficult to be away from colleagues, Gleeson added, who usually act as a vital support system during difficult cases.

“It’s really hard to be separate from each other. Just to not have those conversations in the hallways, or to process after a case, or to just debrief when something was really tough,” Gleeson said.

In addition, the department has started to see a slight increase in calls, Gleeson said, though he was surprised by the lack of call volume during the first couple of weeks during the pandemic.

“That’s one thing that’s been really hard as, we never have the resources we want to serve people that they deserve to be served when they’re in crisis, and we have even fewer resources now,” Gleeson said. “It’s really hard to be on the phone with someone who’s asking for help and did not have all the, all you want to be able to give them.”

The team has enacted measures to support one another during this time, including meeting on a weekly basis via Zoom, as well as doing one-on-one check-ins twice a week to create more opportunities for interaction and to discuss difficult cases.

Region Ten’s Emergency Services hotline is open 24/7, 365 days a year. To reach them, call 434-972-1800.

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