COVID-19 has continued to affect a growing number of people in our communities. At the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center (JDC), our staff and faculty continue to provide exceptional clinical care for our patients, while providing critical educational outreach to the community.
This was the focus of a virtual panel at the JDC’s first-ever virtual luncheon on Oct. 29. More than 300 faculty, staff, benefactors and friends of CU gathered for the event. This year’s tenth annual luncheon featured a panel of healthcare clinicians from the center offering knowledge regarding the mental health landscape of Colorado during the pandemic. The providers also shared tips for how to manage the anxiety, stress and isolation that we are all experiencing during this uniquely difficult time.
The panel featured JDC Medical Director Chris Schneck, MD, an adult psychiatrist and bipolar disorder specialist; director of Telemedicine and psychiatrist Jay Shore, MD, and Amy Lopez, PhD, LCSW, a child and adolescent clinical social worker on the Fostering Anxiety and Mood Improvements in the Lives of Youth program (FAMILY) at the JDC.
The panel covered a wide range of topics including meeting a patient’s unique mental health needs during the pandemic, utilizing telehealth to conduct visits and preventing a widespread mental health crisis through community outreach. The panelists also shared a host of personal challenges faced as providers, as well as tips for combatting anxiety and depression at a time when uncertainty and the unknown are the norm.
Aligning forces for mental health
The JDC stands as a place where countless patients have depended on care for transformative treatment of depressive illnesses and related mood disorders. The center recently moved to the CU Department of Psychiatry under the leadership of C. Neil Epperson, MD, JDC executive director, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Robert Freedman Endowed Professor. The move marks the aligning of forces for mental health treatment on campus and vast expertise coming together under one united front.
Much of the work at the center is made possible through the generosity of the JDC’s large community of philanthropic support. Dr. Epperson thanked sponsors and benefactors for providing support that has been critical in meeting the needs of the community during the pandemic. “In this current world of isolation and uncertainty,” Dr. Epperson said, “The remarkable achievements of our providers, educators and philanthropic stakeholders are a cause for celebration. We could not be more grateful for the vision and generosity of our partners.”
Net proceeds from the event will go to support the JDC to improve the lives of people with depression and mood disorders through clinical excellence, innovative research, community programs and education.