Patrick H. Dollard, President and CEO of The Center for Discovery, told a prestigious panel of experts on brain health, wellness, and suicide prevention that it is time for all disciplines to come together to fight stress and anxiety nationwide.
“I think now that we are dealing with the stress and anxiety that COVID’s presenting – we’re all in this combat now. We can learn from each other,” he said. Dollard was a part of a virtual roundtable discussion sponsored by America Salutes You, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of issues important to veterans, service members, first-responders, and their families.
The focus of the 3rd annual panel was “Brain, Mental Wellness and Suicide Prevention.” In recent years, The Center, which provides services for more than 1,200 children and adults annually with the most complex conditions, has expanded its community by housing and caring for combat veterans from the 82nd Airborne Division who are just home from active duty. During their time on the TCFD campus, the service men and women have learned about The Center’s organic and biodynamic farming and nutrition program, along with the importance of food, exercise, and regular sleep as well as the research that documents their ability to reduce stress and anxiety.
“We have more in common with each other than you can imagine,” Dollard told the very diverse panel, “If we could get after that and come together as a bunch of human beings trying to figure it out, I think we are going to go a long way.”
Dollard called anxiety and stress a “moving target” in this time of coronavirus, in particular for first responders; “More than ever now we are focused on helping our staff and their families get through all of this.” The Center has a rigorous People Operations Division that works seamlessly with other teams to create multi-layers of staff support ranging from medical and financial assistance, to stress reduction techniques – and now during COVID-19, virtual exercise, yoga, and sound healing classes. During quarantine in New York State, The Center has even set up a Staff Co-Op and Wash House for groceries and laundry so that staff members did not have to venture out into the community.
Dollard’s concern though is much greater than his 1,700 staff members. He expressed worry to the roundtable participants about society on a much bigger level, in particular – the amount of loneliness and desperation created by COVID-19. At The Center, residents were quarantined and cared for by staff when New York State shut down, but not allowed family visits until early summer. Across the nation, group home and nursing home residents were not as fortunate. “We are looking at a whole new era of pain and not only in the present… it’s going to be long lasting and require places like us to re-engineer and re-think architecture and technology to be able to keep loved ones together at the most difficult time in one’s life – with a loved one passing,” he added, “We need a more meaningful way to approach these things in the future.”
The answers, he reiterated, will come in collaboration, and he made it clear The Center for Discovery is ready and willing to share its knowledge, research, and science to help veterans, service people, first responders and everyone else in this COVID-19 era and beyond. To succeed, we must work together.
To watch the panel, visit: http://bit.ly/TCFDASUPanel2020.