Curran highlights free, virtual support group for COVID-19 survivors

Curran highlights free, virtual support group for COVID-19 survivors
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran highlighted a free, virtual support group for county residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of the county executive's office)

As the coronavirus continues to rapidly spread throughout New York and the nation, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran brought to light one of the initiatives taken on Long Island to aid residents in their mental health.

Curran, on Thursday, was joined by representatives from Emerge Rehabilitation and Nursing of Glen Cove to discuss a free, virtual support group available for everyone throughout the county who has tested positive for the virus. 

The bi-weekly support group, according to officials, provides people who have contracted the virus with an opportunity to conduct a dialogue with health professionals and other survivors and discuss lingering health or mental issues they may be facing.

“For many of the thousands of residents who survived COVID-19, the battle is not yet over. While we still do not know the long-term effects, there are reports of lingering symptoms that are plaguing these COVID-19 survivors and causing more stress in their lives,” Curran said. “I want all COVID survivors to know, whether you are dealing with physical or emotional complications from your battle with this unprecedented illness, you are not alone and there is help available.”

Officials from Emerge, which is operated by Paragon Management in Glen Cove, said it was in June when they saw the need to promote dialogue between survivors and healthcare professionals to address potential mental health issues. 

The sessions began as a bi-monthly affair open for anyone to participate before becoming exclusive to survivors in Nassau County.

Lisa Penziner, a psychologist and special projects manager at Paragon, said the mental burden that survivors can bear has the potential to develop into post-traumatic stress-syndrome.

“As we see more people who have recovered from the coronavirus, we know that many of them continue to have lingering health issues and in some cases, they show signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome,” Penziner said. “A support group provides people with an opportunity to be with others who are likely to understand what they are going through. This can reduce feelings of loneliness, distress, depression, anxiety and fatigue.”

Penziner thanked Curran for highlighting the organization’s initiative to aid in the mental heath support of Nassau residents and encouraged others who have contracted the virus to participate in the programming.

“I’d like to thank the County Executive for her support in getting the word out about the help that is available for COVID-19 survivors,” Penziner said. “It’s so important that as many people as possible know about this free support group.”

The next support groups are scheduled to occur on Nov. 18. Dec. 2, Dec. 9, and Dec. 30 all at 6 p.m.  Those who are interested in participating should email [email protected] or call516-457-5585.

“Thank you Emerge for starting this support group for Nassau’s survivors to start a dialogue with others that know what they are going through and to get solutions from professionals,” Curran said.

Curran has underscored the importance of residents maintaining as much mental sanity as possible since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March, often acknowledging “pandemic fatigue” as one of the most prominent stress factors people face on a daily basis.

“While the recent resurgence of COVID on Long Island has created anxiety and rightful cause for concern, everybody can do their part to limit their risk, and protect their loved ones and neighbors,” Curran said in a joint statement with Nassau County Department of Health Commissioner Lawrence Eisenstein. “Rather than panic, we recommend controlling what you can. Take the simple measures which will allow you to go about your life while avoiding the virus.”

Since the pandemic began in mid-March, more than 10.6 million Americans had tested for the coronavirus as of Friday, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  More than 243,000 had died in that time frame as of Friday.

In New York, 545,762 residents had contracted the virus, with more than 26,000 deaths caused as a result of it since the pandemic began.

A total of 52,897 Nassau County residents had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Friday, according to figures from the Nassau County Department of Health.  A total of 2,226 county residents had died as a result of the virus as of Friday.

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