On March 13, a statewide shutdown of mental health providers receiving state funds occurred throughout Georgia, due to safety risks from COVID-19. During the “down” time, staff spent time planning for the “new normal” at the center, as well as staying in regular contacts with peers.
At the beginning of the shutdown, Pam Perry studied other states’ mental health guidelines for facing this unknown period. She stayed in contact with staff members to address service concerns, share information, and plan for the re-opening.
During the shutdown, both peers and staff experienced major changes in their schedules. Staff worked from home, came to work for brief periods, or took time away from work. Peers moved from spending several hours a day in a very structured environment with much social interaction to spending more time on their own.
However, daily staff telephone contact was maintained between center staff and peers, assuring that no one was truly separated from a caring PWC family. For in-town peers, a meal was delivered to their homes Monday through Saturday. The staff nurse, Charlene Hayes, R.N., also maintained regular contact to monitor peers’ health.
Three weeks ago, clients began returning to the center, and the gradual reopening process has been positive. PWC founder and CEO Stuart Perry has been pleased with the transition.
“The peers were away from our campus from March 13 until July 15,” Stuart notes. “They could not be physically together on our campus, but the welfare and wellness of each peer was important to our reopening.”
We’ll keep our readers posted about our progress!
In the photo above, Monica Bolden, left, and Virginia Bruce enjoy a chicken lunch upon their return to Perry Wellness Center.