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Mental Health Providers Use Tech, Flexibility To Help Long Islanders Cope During Coronavirus

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Mental health and social services are open to residents in Nassau County during the coronavirus pandemic. The agencies say they are taking precautions to limit the spread of the disease.   

Nancy Nunziati, commissioner of the county Department of Social Services, says the agency is staffed and capable of helping throughout the pandemic.

“Everyone should know that if you are in need of services, whether that be public assistance or food stamps, emergency housing, whatever it is, we are there.”

Mental health services are also adapting to the restrictions on gatherings that were put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Jeffrey Reynolds, president of Family and Children’s Association, a Long Island health services group, says people who depend on Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings still need help.

“At the same time, we’re preventing coronavirus and the transmission of that virus, there are folks that are dealing with other significant chronic diseases in which fatalities have been outcomes in the form of overdoses and suicides.”

Reynolds says they are using telemedicine to make sure people are getting the help they need right now.

“We’re using technology to the fullest extent to reach people, not once a week in a face-to-face session, but every hour if need be.”

Nassau County officials say if you need immediate mental health or substance abuse assistance, you should call their talkline at 516-227-8255.

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Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.
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