INDIANAPOLIS — For those working on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis, fighting the pandemic might be taking a toll emotionally, if not physically.
That's why Howard County is working with Turning Point, an organization that helps those who suffer from addiction or mental health issues, to offer free virtual support groups are available for Hoosier workers who need help.
"I think it gives someone the opportunity to reflect, to dialogue about what they're going through. I think that they can relate to us and we can relate to them," Kokomo fire captain Jason Braden said.
Giving firefighters, police officers, emergency management crews, healthcare workers, even grocery store employees the space to release their stress and emotions they're so bravely holding in right now to serve the public.
"Mentally for us, we go home and our worries are making sure we don't bring it home to our families," Braden said. "We still deal with the same runs that we normally do before this started, but now we have additional worries."
Being separated from their families for hours and sometimes days at a time can be overwhelming.
"We all have a cup that people put things in and we don't know when that cup is going to become full," Braden said.
When the cup begins to boil over, there are resources available to help.
Turning Point is now holding free confidential meetings on the video chat service Zoom three times a week, several times a day, accounting for different shifts responders might work.
"We realized that during this crisis, mental health has become a very, very important topic across-the-board," Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman said. "The people out there on the front lines, they are just dealing with this every day, minute-by-minute, at a level that is hard for many of us to grasp."
Wyden said Turning Point will continue to offer the free service as long as we are battling the virus. When the crisis is over, he expects people will need help to decompress and process everything they are their families experienced. The services will be available then, as well.
"We want them to leave the meeting feeling good, inspired, and understanding there's people that care about them and love them and appreciate what they're doing," Wyden said. "And it just gives them that energy in that charge to continue that fight for us on a daily basis."