Trumbull starts online community support group
Protecting Trumbull’s health is part of EMS Director Leigh Goodman’s job, particularly with a worldwide viral outbreak happening.
But respiratory problems or a fever aren’t the only health effects caused by coronavirus. The uncertaintly regarding the illness, the prolonged isolation and uneasiness about things like job security can take a heavy mental toll, Goodman said.
“Normally when something happens that’s unprecedented, people get together and talk about, ‘wow can you believe what’s going on?’” Goodman said. “But in this case, even though everyone’s going through the same thing, people are feeling isolated and alone.”
That’s why Goodman and the Trumbull EMS are teaming up with the Mary J. Sherlach Counseling to offer a series of online community discussions. The meetings, which have a capacity of 300, will be facilitated by Goodman, drug and alcohol counselor Cornelia Morris and marriage and family therapist Robin Bieber.
“Join our online open discussion talk about anxiety, depression, stress, the uncertainties and the unknown, coping strategies and how people are dealing with pandemic COVID-19 and the cumulative stress you might be coping with,” the three wrote in an online invitation.
The meetings will be held weekly at 11 a.m. on Thursday, beginning March 26.
“We thought we’d try it weekly, and see where it goes,” Goodman said. “Maybe we have a group for people to talk about coronavirus, another for people who want to talk about anything but coronavirus. A bring-your-own mimosa virtual brunch, who knows?”
The primary goal is to get people talking and break the forced isolation. Even if people are upset, it’s important that they express it, Goodman said.
“We’ve been telling people to check in on others, but they need to check in one themselves, too,” she said. “It’s OK to feel lonely, and people can realize that they have options.”
If people are feeling stressed, the group can share online yoga or meditation sessions. They can talk about books, online movie services, even group online workouts, Goodman said.
“The EMS workers were doing an online workout here because no one can go to the gym anymore,” Goodman said. “I don’t think they would have done that before, but they were out there exercising. They even got me out there with them.”
The online meetings are hosted through Zoom, and residents can log on here. The meeting ID is 690 701 855 and the password is 101853. For those wishing to call in, the number is 1-929-205-6099.