Telephone and video counseling available for Hudson County residents stressed by COVID-19

Metropolitan Family Health Network has centers in West New York and Jersey City

Telemedicine, such a phone and video counseling, may be common in the new normal.
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Telemedicine, such a phone and video counseling, may be common in the new normal.

As New Jersey reopens during Phase 2 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many residents are still coping with the stress the virus has added to their lives.

To help residents cope, the Metropolitan Family Health Network (MFHN) Integrated Behavioral Health Care team of social workers are counseling local residents struggling to manage the emotional stress of the ongoing health crisis.

MFHN is a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides ambulatory health care services in Hudson County. Last year, MFHN provided services for more than 17,000 patients in over 53,400 visits at its three primary-care centers, one in West New York and two in Jersey City.

The non-profit organization is dedicated to making affordable health care accessible to all of the residents of Hudson County, particularly those who are “uninsured, underserved, and or homeless.”

Now, MFHN has expanded its online presence to help Hudson County residents cope with the new normal as a result of COVID-19.

Job loss, financial burdens, loneliness, and the death of a loved one may trigger anxiety and depression, according to MFHN President and Chief Executive Officer Joan Dublin. Those with pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease are often at higher risk.

“Unfortunately, there are many people who are especially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in a variety of ways,” Dublin said. “Our expert social service workers are here to counsel and assist people of all ages through these difficult days.”

Stay-at-home stress

Dublin explained that being confined to one’s home can bring on family stress and impact relationships. And while the stay-at-home order has been lifted, the stress from being inside for months still has taken its toll on residents.

“All the news of the outbreak can lead to changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, and worsening of mental or physical health problems,” Dublin said “Fear and uncertainty may increase the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.”

Social workers at MFHN can provide Telehealth video and phone counseling services so children, adolescents, and adults can visit from the privacy, comfort and safety of their homes.

“Our social workers are compassionate, caring and highly experienced,” Dublin said.

Social workers include Evangeline Croix, Elie De Franca, Felicia Fdyfil-Horne, and Ariana Luciano.

A team of the best

Croix specializes in addiction and cognitive behavioral therapies among others and provides counseling in individual and family sessions. She also works with the LGBTQ community, and facilitates a transgender support group for teens, young adults, and parents.

De Franca is also a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Nationally Certified Recovery Coach with more than 15 years of experience working with adults, adolescents, and their families in substance abuse disorder treatment.

Fdyfil-Horne has been providing services at MFHN since earlier this year, including crisis-intervention, trauma-focused, individual and family therapy, and clinical supervision. She has more than 10 years of experience working with mental health agencies that partner with the child welfare system and the Children’s System of Care.

Luciano is fluent in English and Spanish and conducts individual, family and group therapy sessions in both languages.

Residents who wish to consult with a MFHN social worker may do so by calling 201-478-5827 and scheduling a Telehealth video or phone appointment. MFHN Telehealth may be used for new and established visits for patients of all ages.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.