Burrell Behavioral Health

Burrell Behavioral Health sign

COLUMBIA -- Families across the country are having to sacrifice holiday gatherings to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, leaving many alone for the holidays. 

Several Missouri health organizations are coming together to help reach those who may be experiencing these challenges.

Katy Trail Community Health will host a Facebook live panel Tuesday evening to discuss how to take care of personal well-beings and mental health around the holidays. 

The event will have a panel of health experts from across the state from organizations like the Bothwell Regional Health Center, Compass Health and Burrell Behavioral Health.

Carisa Kessler, Burrell Behavioral Health's Director of Crisis Services, will speak on behalf of her organization.

Compared to 2019, Burrell has seen an increase of 25 to 30% of new clients between March and August of this year, according to Kessler.

"The pandemic has put people in unfamiliar situations and it's now when they're starting to seek help," Kessler said.

In addition to talking about how to maintain one's well-being during the panel, Kessler said she also plans to address seasonal depression.

"One of the main ways to combat depression is by going outside and getting pure Vitamin D," Kessler said. "When it's cold out, you can't do that, so seasonal depression is much harder to fight."

Burrell has participated in a number of virtual mental health discussions since the pandemic limited in-person activities.

Kessler said she thinks there has been an increase in the number of attendees because people don't have to leave their homes and they are more comfortable where they are.

"Our last event, we saw about 100 to 125 participants," Kessler said.

During the panel, Kessler said she would be sure to mention Burrell's 24/7 Central Missouri crisis line, 1-800-395-2132, and offer other resources for people to follow up with.

"We want to make sure that going into the colder months where things may get harder and more lonely, that we are here for people to call," Kessler said.

The Facebook live will be hosted from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the Katy Trail Community Health Facebook page.

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