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HEALTH NOTE: COVID-19 impacts demand for mental health services at Alivation

HEALTH NOTE: COVID-19 impacts demand for mental health services at Alivation

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected the mental health of many, creating new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.

Locally, the good news is that the leading outpatient mental health provider in the region is located right here in Lincoln.

Alivation, located at 8550 Cuthills Circle, is the region’s premier mental health partner – and one of the nation’s top experts in providing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a breakthrough treatment that is FDA-approved for treatment- resistant depression (TRD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as being used by psychiatrists to treat anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, traumatic brain injury (TBI), dementia, Parkinson’s disease, post-stroke and other conditions.

“We have treated over 1,000 people with TMS, comprising over 40,000 individual sessions since 2011,” said Dr. Walt Duffy, founder, owner and chief medical officer of the integrated health care organization located at the southeast corner of 84th and Old Cheney Road.

Powerful treatment

When medication proves ineffective or causes side effects, TMS – an outpatient treatment, drug-free, FDA-approved, noninvasive and safe technology – provides a powerful alternative treatment.

“TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate parts of the brain associated with depression. TMS is more effective than medication by itself,” said Duffy, whose father’s struggles with mental illness led to his career choice.

Speaking in conjunction with the kickoff to Mental Health Awareness Month, Duffy added: “TMS provides remission or significant symptom relief in over 80% of people with TRD compared to fewer than 20% after trying a couple medications.”

More seeking help

During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019, according to national studies. The isolation that accompanied the pandemic in the past year resulted in self-coping approaches.

Polls revealed more adults reporting negative impacts on their mental health and well-being, such as sleeping, eating, increases in alcohol consumption or substance abuse, and worsening chronic conditions due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.

However, a combination of rising vaccination rates and improved local reports from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department – the local COVID-19 risk dial entered the low-yellow category last week – have resulted in more calls to Alivation from patients seeking mental health assistance.

“Patients now feel safer about an office visit with safety protocols remaining in place,” said Duffy.

During the pandemic, Alivation transitioned 80% of its patients to telemedicine. Alivation provides a Telehealth option for patients’ convenience while also providing an in-person option with the same provider.

“Mental health accounts for about 80 percent of our 275 daily patient visits,” said Alivation CEO Trevor Bullock. “That figure has remained fairly consistent over the years,” added Bullock, a former technology company COO who joined Alivation in 2015 prior to the rebranding in 2017.

History

Bullock said Premier Psychiatric Group rebranded as Alivation Health to embrace additions to existing services. The affiliates branded Alivation include Alivation Health LLC (clinical services), Alivation Pharmacy LLC and Alivation Research LLC.

Founded in 1998, Alivation (formerly Premier Psychiatric Group LLC) has been proudly providing care to patients in Lincoln and surrounding communities for over two decades.

Alivation is an Integrated health care provider whose umbrella of care includes Alivation Health – Behavioral Health/Brain Health and Primary Care, Alivation Pharmacy, Alivation Research and Alivation Aesthetics, all in one modern facility that spans over 30,000 square feet.

Podcast sponsor

Alivation’s community outreach efforts include a sponsored podcast titled “The Mental Health Commute.” Listen as co-hosts Dr. Walt Duffy and Matt Duffy share tips and education every Wednesday and Friday during your morning commute. Download and subscribe by searching “The Mental Health Commute” on your favorite podcast directory, such as Apple Podcast or Spotify.

To schedule an appointment at Alivation, call 402-476-6060, Option 0. Learn more at Alivation.com.

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