As more and more governors and mayors call for Americans to stay at home in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, people with substance use disorders (SUDs) are at serious risk.

Here at Lionrock we’ve heard from hundreds of our own clients, as well as colleagues, friends and family, that they’re struggling with anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic. They are fearful –  about the virus itself, about their loved ones, and about their livelihoods. Heightened anxiety can be a trigger for people with SUDs, especially those isolated from support networks, and unable to attend in-person meetings or recovery programs. Plus, the pandemic is exacerbating mental health illnesses  like depressive disorders, anxiety, and or obsessive-compulsive disorders. More than fifty percent of people who struggle with addiction also have co-occurring mental health illnesses.

People with SUDs, especially now, are in need of online treatment options. With residential units and their freestanding intensive outpatient programs (IOP) programs closed, telehealth is critical for people with SUDs. Telehealth allows people to get help from the privacy of their home. In fact, telehealth is one of the most effective ways to reach and treat people with SUDs. It’s also one of the most effective ways to support recovery. With a telehealth solution, people can seek and receive treatment from the privacy of their home. But not all telehealth solutions are created equal.

At Lionrock, we’ve helped thousands of people; eighty percent  of Lionrock clients reported being abstinent at the time of a recent survey. We deliver all of our care online by secure video conference and mobile app. We’ve been at this since 2012 and with that experience, we’ve built a state of the art telehealth program. We’re accredited by the Joint Commission and we accept most private health insurance.

For years, online treatment has been a practical option for employed people who may have been wondering how to get the help they need without signaling to their employers that there is a problem. Now it’s a practical solution for people who are practicing social distancing and unable to meet with a counselor face to face. And in the face of this current crisis, more and more  residential treatment centers have announced they are transitioning to telehealth models. That’s good, if, they are doing the work required to make it work. Effective telehealth, as we know from our years of experience, requires more than “just add video.” 

And, to further support our clients, in addition to our  traditional intensive outpatient programs, Lionrock is now offering free COVID-19 Anxiety Support Meetings, several times weekly. Similar to Lionrock therapy sessions, the COVID-19 Anxiety Support Meetings are 60  minute sessions, held via secure video conference, allowing participants to join from the privacy of home. They are accessible for free internationally as well. Support meeting session capacity is limited to 50 and available on a first come, first served basis. Counselors from Lionrock’s programs will run the sessions and focus them on education and coping skills. Participants need an Internet-connected device with camera and a private place from which to access the group. The COVID-19 Anxiety Support Meetings schedule and video link to access can be found here.