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Local mental health nonprofit wants service industry workers to know they're here for them

Hospitality industry workers struggling with mental health or substance abuse can call Community Care Services for telehealth counseling and other resources

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Susan Kozak has friends in the restaurant and bar industry. She knows that it's a stressful, fast-paced business to begin with, and that is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic that has left many in that workforce temporarily jobless.

As executive director of Community Care Services in Lincoln Park, Kozak wants service industry folks to know that mental health and substance abuse help is here for them. 

Hospitality industry workers are invited to see mental health and substance abuse support from Community Care Services in Lincoln Park.

"For this industry in particular, because almost every place is shut down, we want to offer substance abuse treatment and mental health services," said Kozak, adding that there is a higher rate of depression and substance abuse in this sector to begin with.  "This is just intensifying it. Not having an income coming in, and a lot of those people were living paycheck-to-paycheck to begin with and then when you get a situation like this, it can be devastating."

Kozak said the office is open and can take calls for those who need to talk with someone via telehealth while social distancing is being practiced. CCS can also help navigate the waters of insurance and Medicaid. Because the nonprofit office is part of the mental health system of Wayne County, they are designed to help those in within that county, but no one is turned away. 

"If somebody came to us from Washtenaw, or Monroe or Oakland Counties, we would try to find resources for them," said Kozak. She said the offices are ready to start helping people quickly. "We’re prepared to get it started right off the bat on the very first phone call, do an assessment and then refer that person ... it could even be the same day or the following day at the latest."

CCS supervisor Justin Coates talks to a client via video.

Adam O'Connor works in tandem with the Metro Detroit restaurant industry from a marketing and public relations standpoint. He's also a mental health advocate who has has an open ear for anyone struggling, particularly with substance abuse and addiction.  

"This has been a wild year for the industry in general," he said. "This has really been debilitating for a lot of folks and it's a very fragile industry of individuals that are very great, outstanding people, but everybody has their demons."

He is grateful that mental health care and consciousnesses has come to light more over the past few years, and that technology has made it easier to connect people. 

"The beauty of 2020 and this happening right now is that technology and social media and video conferencing has really taken a huge leap," he said. "Telehealth has become huge. People have been able to continue working. I know they're holding AA meetings remotely via video, the CCS website has a lot of resources listed. You don't need to worry about travel, a lot of people don't have licences, or don't have cars."

"This is a hard time for everyone right now, it’s very dramatic," says Kozak. "But there are certain industries like the restaurant and bars that have been hit a lot harder." 

She says in addition to mental health services, CCS can also help clients find food, medical help and other resources. 

"We can connect them," she said. "There’s so much information out there but for people to try and reach out for help ... there is help, and we’re not the only mental health center that is providing service. There are several out there, and we can help them find places closer to their house."

Anyone seeking help can call Community Care Services at (313) 389-7500 or visit www.comcareserv.org.  Kozak says individuals in a crisis may also walk in to the office before 6 p.m. weekdays at 26184 W. Outer Drive in Lincoln Park. 

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mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens