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Howard University and D.C. Department of Behavioral Health to Offer ‘Psychological First Aid’ Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Covid- Psychological First AidWASHINGTON – The Howard University Department of Psychiatry has announced the COVID-19 Recovery & Resiliency Project, a partnership with the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health. The project is meant to provide education and short-term psychological support to frontline health care practitioners and D.C. residents who are dealing with challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many frontline health care practitioners have experienced high levels of stress and anxiety as they risk their personal safety to help combat the coronavirus. The rigors associated with their occupations, in addition to everyday challenges, could jeopardize their mental health,” says Howard University Professor Tyish Hall Brown, Ph.D., M.H.S., a clinical psychologist and director of the School-Based Behavioral Health Program in the Howard University College of Medicine.

“We are excited to partner with Howard University on this important initiative. With the added stress that families, individuals and, in particular, frontline health care practitioners are experiencing related to COVID-19, it is imperative that behavioral health supports, tools, resources and quality treatments are accessible when and where they are needed,” said Barbara J. Bazron, Ph.D., director of the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health.

COVID-19 is compounding health and health care challenges facing some of D.C.’s most vulnerable residents.  The speed and spread of the disease have stirred fear and anxiety among D.C. residents overall as well as among people with mental health conditions. For individuals with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders, the COVID-19 virus has disrupted their connections to behavioral health providers and their social support networks.

First responders – such as law enforcement, EMTs, mental health crisis teams and health practitioners – are also experiencing stress as they too are concerned about exposureto the virus.

Dr. Hall Brown said the project will offer “psychological first aid,” an evidence-based practice that promotes safety, calming, connectedness, self-efficacy and hope to those individuals.

The D.C. Department of Behavioral Health was recently awarded a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Howard University Department of Psychiatry is one of several entities that have received subgrants to offer various services to support the D.C. community.  

The first set of educational webinars are scheduled for November and December with additional webinars scheduled throughout 2021. See details below.

The Howard University COVID-19 Recovery & Resiliency Project Webinar Series

The Howard University COVID-19 Recovery & Resiliency Project (Howard R&R Project) is pleased to present a series of educational webinars to support the health and wellness of our frontline health care professionals and our D.C. residents. Join us by Zoom as we cover a range of behavioral health topics and provide coping skills to help D.C. residents overcome challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Webinar Series: Frontline Health Care Providers

Topic: Managing Grief and Loss

Presenter: Wendt Center                  

Date: Friday, Nov.13, 2020

Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IpLm74QRSDqtVbzE0ENe9w

Topic: Optimizing Sleep During COVID-19        

Presenter: Thomas Mellman, MD & Tyish Hall Brown, Ph.D., M.H.S.

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hxfXovV0Q4KBiSwr6nDtRw

Webinar Series: D.C. Residents

Topic: Managing Grief and Loss

Presenter: Wendt Center                  

Date: Friday, Nov. 20, 2020

Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BoiFeWEtQWWZV5chSINoEw

 

Topic: Optimizing Sleep During COVID-19        

Presenter: Thomas Mellman, MD & Tyish Hall Brown, Ph.D., M.H.S.

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020

Time: 11 am – 12 p.m.

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_g-tEhbtZQ32Nch5Lz6D--A

For the most up-to-date Howard University COVID-19 Recovery & Resiliency Project information and webinar schedule please follow us on Instagram @Howard_RRproject.

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows, and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard University also produces more African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information about Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.

About the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health

The D.C. Department of Behavioral Health offers a full range of prevention, treatment and recovery services. Call the 24-hour access helpline at 1-(888)-793-4357 (7WE-HELP) to enroll or get more information.  

Howard University Media Contact: Sholnn Freeman, sholnn.freeman@howard.edu

D.C. Department of Behavioral Health Media Contact: Erica Cunningham erica.cunningham@dc.gov