Valley Oaks Health recognizes the stress for many first responders and public educators has been intense amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
One way for the Lafayette community mental health center to assist is to hold free support groups through Zoom for first responders and public educators.
Valley Oaks Health received a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, which started in September 2020 to provide peer-based support led by a trained mental health care provider to assist with the increased demands on both groups.
“The funding for this grant goes through June,” said Zoe Frantz, Valley Oaks Health chief strategy officer and director of business development. “We are evaluating other opportunities to continue to support both first responders and public educators.”
So far, Frantz said the organization has not had many participants from Hamilton County or Zionsville, so the mental health center is seeking to spread the word.
The one-hour support group allows workers to discuss the isolation and hardships of being on the front lines throughout the pandemic. The public educator group offers support for Indiana teachers and administrators. The first responders group is intended for health care, law enforcement and any other professional working to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The first responders support group is held every Monday from 7 to 8 p.m. The public educators support group is from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays.
“We are averaging around three to four participants in each group,” Frantz said. “There is not a cap with Zoom. However, effective support groups usually do not have more than 12 individuals participating. We are finding people are participating in a few and then have the support that they need.”
To register for the public educators group, visit valleyoaks.org/public-educators or valleyoaks.org/first-responders-support-group/. For more on both programs, contact Frantz at 812-298-4533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.