HUNTINGTON — While the future of the recovery community in the state may seem uncertain as the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to expand, Allison Conley, director of development at Recovery Point West Virginia, said they won’t let the virus backtrack on their success.
“We are taking precautions in the midst of it all,” she said. “It’s definitely difficult for everyone, but especially the recovery community, because there is a lack of resources right now. It’s definitely a concern because the recovery community has made so much progress in the past few years, especially in our state, so we want to be able to continue to make progress despite the obstacles against us.”
At Recovery Point’s multiple locations, clients and staff are practicing social distancing from the community, Conley said.
However, it’s important the facilities be able to continue serving clients who need assistance.
“We operate on a wait list, and right now, as our beds are full, we can’t accept anyone new; however, when beds do open up during this time, we will accept individuals who are already scheduled on our wait list,” Conley said. “For those individuals, what we are doing is checking their temperature, checking for flu-like symptoms and we are cleaning all of their belongings that are coming in.”
Building connections with the community is vital for people in recovery, particularly in the beginning stages of the process, according to studies from the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services.
Data suggest the increase in isolation caused by efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus could trigger individuals in recovery.
But Conley said Recovery Point is working hard to make sure people in the program continue to safely feel supported and connected to those around them.
Many in-person services have shifted to virtual meetings on Skype and Zoom calls, and staff are making efforts to keep clients busy as they continue to build relationships with their brothers and sisters within the program.
“We are finding activities for them to do to keep them occupied and to encourage relationships to be built in our facilities,” Conley said. “There are a lot of outdoor activities, just to really use their time productively, and a routine is super helpful and healthy.”
Kim Miller, director of development at Prestera Center, said medical professionals at their facilities are still seeing clients who may be struggling in their recovery or with other mental health problems, and can even assist them from their own homes.
“Support is so critical to people in recovery,” Miller said. “When you’re isolated and you have a problem with substance use or misuse, you’re definitely at risk. We’re still providing services, and I really expect to see a jump because people are isolated. We want people to know that we are open, and you can stay at home and use our services.”
Brittany Shawver, director of the HELP4WV addiction hotline, said in a news release Tuesday that she has seen little change in call volume, but staff expect a rise to come.
“We think call volume may increase as this continues, because unemployment, depression and loneliness are all risk factors for addiction,” Shawver said.
The hotline can be reached 24/7 at 844-HELP-4WV.
More information about Prestera Center’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and resources available to clients can be found at www.prestera.org under the “Services” tab.
For those interested in helping participants at Recovery Point, Conley said the facilities are always accepting cleaning supplies, hygiene products and feminine products as well as games, sports equipment and DVDs to help entertain clients during social distancing.
Clients also have requested sewing machines that they could use to make masks for essential workers in the community.
“You can drop it off at the door,” Conley said. “And any donations will be properly sanitized before entering.”