For the first time in almost exactly a year, I am sitting in an airport waiting for a flight back home after traveling for a Conference. I wanted to express my sincere appreciation to the folks at MHCA – Leaders in Community Health Solutions for planning and executing a safe, socially distanced conference at the Opal Sands Resort in Clearwater, FL. As we move into March 2021 and we come up on the year anniversary of Covid-19 forcing us to alter the way we live, Mental Health has never been more important.
With issues as nuanced as Mental Health, it’s hard to pinpoint one major cause. That being said, in the past year there has been one major issue that has been negatively impacting the mental health of so many people. The issue is a lack of connection with other humans. People are feeling more isolated than ever before and that is exacerbating problems such as depression, loneliness, addiction and abuse. As Mental health professionals have seen in increase in the demand of their services, and as sessions have moved online, it was a great move to hold this conference in person for those who were able. The MHCA was able to offer a virtual option as well. At Secure Telehealth, we were very honored to be able to support this conference as a sponsor and exhibitor because we see that as a way to support the mental health professionals who are dealing with the fallout on a daily basis.
Some highlights included Monica Oss, from the Open Minds Organization discussing the “next normal” and how organizations that serve communities should be growing and adapting, how tracking data and using compassion can improve patient outcomes , and a great presentation from Leadership expert Neen James about how to get the attention that you need. All of the presentations were informative and helpful, but the biggest positive to come out of this event was the return to actual human face to face connections. Sure it was messy at times, its hard to understand people behind masks and its hard to feel comfortable eating around people because you have to take your masks off, but in my opinion, it was well worth it to be able to meet in person again.
One quick meeting that I had was with Hank Milius, CEO of Meridian Health Services in Muncie, IN. Meridian Health Services is a customer of ours. In March last year, they were forced to move their entire operation to a virtual platform. So in the course of a week, they went from about 20 accounts with us to over 1000. It was an incredible effort that succeeded due to the hard work of our staff at Secure Telehealth and his staff at Meridian. It was a privilege to be able to share that information with him. In a different year, this may have turned into lunch or dinner and even more relationship building, but I was just happy to be able to meet with him, covered face to covered face.
So thank you once again to the folks at MHCA, for understanding the importance of human connections and relationships and for working so hard to pull this off. It was well worth it and it should be known to everyone that these types of events can and should happen, albeit with appropriate safety measured put in place.