Bon Secours St. Francis Health System announced on Thursday, June 24 that it has launched a new support group that will assist patients with lingering COVID-19 symptoms.
“It is well-documented that viruses like COVID-19 can cause a constellation of symptoms for people after they overcome the viral infection. Those symptoms frequently involve the heart, the lungs, the GI system, the joints, and of course, the brain,” explained Bon Secours psychiatrist and behavioral health director Dr. Carson Felkel. “What we’re seeing predominantly from Post-Acute COVID are the brain symptoms — headaches, depression, anxiety and fatigue, etc.”
About a third of patients with COVID-19 will develop these neurological symptoms while also struggling with mental health issues.
To meet the need, Bon Secours has created the first post-COVID Syndrome Support Group in the Upstate.
The health system will have a therapist assigned to each group who will prepare patients to tackle their emotions caused by the lingering symptoms. Groups will be between six and eight people.
There will be two meetings at different times each week — 3:30 p.m. on Thursdays and at noon on Fridays. The meeting will be about 90 minutes. Once you get a referral from a physician, you can arrange to join in person or online.
“In group, you are going to see that you are not alone. More people are suffering like you’re suffering. That’s the beauty of group,” said therapist Marta Carvalhal. “We’re going to address the physiology of anxiety and depression and teach you how to take control over your body and mind again.”