Tahoe Forest Health System has mental wellbeing in mind

Submitted to the Sierra Sun

Crisis Resources


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Nevada County Mental Health Crisis Line: 530-265-5811

Placer County Mental Health Crisis Line, Adult: 1-888-886-5401

Placer County Mental Health Crisis Line, Youth: 1-866-293-1940

Sierra Community House Helpline: 1-800-736-1060

Text Lines

(CA) text “START” to 741741

(NV) text “ANSWER” to 839863

In honor of Mental Health Month, let’s take a moment to check in and recognize that our mental health needs have likely shifted during this time of physical distancing.

As a health system, we recognize that mental health is as equally important to wellbeing as physical health. In response to an identified community need for mental and behavioral health, Tahoe Forest has expanded its services, including:

Behavioral Health Integration and Depression Screenings: Behavioral Health is now integrated in Primary Care with a new Behavioral Health Intensivist to support patients’ mental health needs. During a visit with your primary care provider you may be screened for depression. Similar to regular screenings for blood pressure, mental health screenings should be a routine part of health care.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based treatment to help those with opioid and alcohol addiction recover their lives. Tahoe Forest’s MAT program includes both counseling and medication and has resulted in considerable success. Patients struggling with addiction have a place to start their recovery in a supportive environment that recognizes addiction as a disease.

New Psychiatric Providers: Experienced psychiatric nurse practitioners will be joining Tahoe Forest Health System in May and June. They will provide services including medication management and therapy for both pediatric and adult populations in Truckee and Incline Village.

If you are struggling or need urgent care, Tahoe Forest providers are available. Please call 530-582-6205 to schedule an appointment.

Zero Suicide Initiative: Tahoe Forest Health System is dedicated to improving patient safety and is implementing a practical framework for safer suicide care. The Zero Suicide Initiative presents an aspirational challenge and a comprehensive approach including early identification, training, and treatment of at risk individuals. With the support from the state of Nevada, Tahoe Forest launched the initiative in November and will be implementing components over the next two years.

The Health System is also a member of the Tahoe Truckee Suicide Prevention Coalition. For more information on local suicide prevention efforts please visit

Mental wellness tips

By now you’ve likely heard about the benefits of getting outside, exercising, and reaching out to friends/family daily and sticking to a routine that includes some element of self care. Below are some additional suggestions for supportive practices:

• Adjust expectations. We are living with the unprecedented demand of meeting work deadlines, homeschooling, sterilizing households, and figuring out how to socialize and entertain creatively while confined. Give yourself a break, there is no road map, we are all truly doing the best we can in this challenging time.

• Notice the good in the world. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counterbalance the heavy information with the hopeful information.

• Help others. Find ways, big and small, to give back to others. Support restaurants, offer to help with grocery shopping, check in with elderly neighbors — helping others gives us a sense of purpose when things seem out of control.

• Spend extra time playing with children. Children will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Don’t be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children — it is how they process their world and problem solve.

• Find something you can control, and control the heck out of it. In moments of big uncertainty and overwhelm, control your little corner of the world. Organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, put together that furniture, and group your toys. Taking control where we can helps to anchor and ground us when the bigger things are chaotic.

• Limit social media and COVID conversation, especially around children. Find a few trusted sources and limit yourself to a few times a day for a set amount of time (30 minutes tops, two to three times daily). Keep news and alarming conversations out of earshot from children — they see and hear everything, and can become very frightened by what they hear.

• Engage in repetitive movements and left-right movements. Research shows that repetitive movement (knitting, coloring, painting, clay sculpting, jump roping etc.) and left-right movement (running, walking, drumming) can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress.

• Find lightness and humor in each day. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos, a stand-up show, a funny movie — we all need a little comedic relief every day.

• Remind yourself daily that this situation is temporary. Although this is scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass.

Source: The Wellness Neighborhood, a service of Tahoe Forest Health System.

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