I don’t know about you, but I am tired of hearing and using the term “unprecedented times.” But really, how else can we describe 2020 using language appropriate for polite company? I recall this time last year when we were about to say “goodbye” to 2019. Businesses were gearing up with their “2020 Vision” themes, and many people were approaching the new decade with optimism. And then came March, which came in like a lion, but didn’t go out like a lamb. First there were tornados that devastated large swaths of Middle Tennessee, followed two days later by the first COVID-19 case in the area. In the spring, horrible, painful images surfaced which led to a long-overdue national conversation about race; an issue that is far from resolved. And last week, a suicide bomber did the unthinkable in downtown Nashville, devastating residents and businesses. It’s just too much.
I have several methods for dealing with my emotions when things become scary and difficult. It’s important that I take time for prayer and meditation, asking God for wisdom and discernment as I prepare for the day ahead. 2020 has found me reconnecting with my inner runner, and I’ve logged more miles this year than in 2017-2019 combined! I’m also looking for silver linings wherever I can find them and doing so has led to a lengthy gratitude list. I hope you’ll indulge me as I share a few things for which I am grateful:
Telehealth at Insight
Our strategic plan called for introducing telehealth during fall 2020. The pandemic showed us that our services are needed now more than ever, so we rescheduled other goals in order to move telehealth implementation to March.
- Several members of the Insight staff put in countless hours, over and above their regular work plans to get everything ready. Trust me when I tell you, it was a tall order. I am grateful to these administrative heroes.
- I am also grateful to the Insight therapists who switched to providing 100% of their sessions through telehealth with a very short runway to prepare. Therapists are by nature people who value in-person communication. Some adapted to the change more easily than others, but it’s fair to say every therapist had to work outside of their comfort zones as they learned to use telehealth platforms and adjusted to meeting with their clients via laptop.
- I’m grateful to clients who didn’t want to move to telehealth but understood our reasons behind the change. These clients prioritized their mental health during this period and continued doing their work with their therapist.
- Telehealth also allowed us to begin serving clients across Tennessee who do not live close to our physical locations. Yes, Insight’s exquisite care is now available to anyone in the state.
De-stigmatization of Mental Health Issues
We still have a long way to go, but I believe one of 2020’s silver linings is mental health issues are becoming less stigmatized. I believe this because people who never thought they would enter therapy are now doing so. In fact, Insight is providing more sessions this year than last. Imagine the positive effect this will have on society as people feel less and less shame about asking for help.
Insight’s Board of Directors
This year we learned board meetings can take place via Zoom, and we were never without a quorum. Insight Counseling Centers is fortunate to be governed by a board of directors that takes seriously its fiduciary responsibilities. Insight staff were completely supported as we navigated unchartered issues.
Insight’s Volunteer Intake Practitioners (VIPs)
We transitioned our Intake department from in-office to remote shifts, and I am grateful to the volunteers who embraced this change and have navigated communicating with staff online. We used to assure volunteers that an Insight staff member was just down the hall if they needed us. Now, volunteers assist callers without having one of us nearby. They are doing great! When people call to seek therapy, they want a calm and reassuring voice to speak with, and they get that when they call Insight . To learn more about how to get involved as a VIP, please visit https://insightcounselingcenters.org/vip.
With so much uncertainly this year, who could blame anyone for tightening their belts? I am grateful to the individuals, corporations, congregations, and foundations that continued to support Insight’s important work because clients rely heavily on our income-based fee scale. Of course, for those of you who’ve not yet made a 2020 gift, there are still a few hours left in the year to make a donation via our secure website: Click here to donate now.
And so, as this “unprecedented” year comes to a close, I’d like to leave you with the reminder that Insight will be here for you in 2021. Some of our locations have reopened while we serve other communities via telehealth-only for the time being. It will be our honor to walk alongside you on your journey toward mental, emotional, and spiritual wholeness.
I wish you a safe, happy, and healthy New Year.
Pam Brown, Executive Director
Insight Counseling Centers