Thursday’s daily press briefing from Governor Asa Hutchinson focused on Arkansas’ mental health resources during this time of isolation and separation.
After sharing that there were 71 additional cases and three more deaths, Health Secretary Nate Smith stated that there were three fewer hospitalizations. Smith said there were 24 discharges and 21 admissions to the hospital over the previous 24 hours.
Nate Smith showed a graph that compared total cases to active cases. The higher line was the total number of cases, 1094 as of Thursday’s briefing, while the lower line was the number of recoveries, currently 253. By subtracting the number of recoveries from the total cases, you get the number of active cases, currently 841.
In another graph, Hutchinson showed the SEC states and how many hospitalizations there were per 100,000 residents. Arkansas was the lowest state with 2.6 hospitalizations per 100,000 compared to Louisiana’s 43.7.
Hutchinson called up Rick Smith, chair of psychiatry of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to address the state’s mental health.
“Everyone pause a moment and take a deep breath,” Rick Smith started.
He then reminded the audience that at one point last year, the flood seemed like the worst thing, but it ended and this crisis will end too.
To anyone struggling with their mental health, Rick Smith reminded them that “now is not the time to stop treatment.” He also encouraged anyone suffering to reach out to friends and family for help.
Deputy Director of the Department of Human Services Paula Stone shared the resources available to Arkansans. Stone first told people to reach out to their insurance companies for resources they cover.
For anyone with Medicaid or insufficient coverage, Stone encouraged people to call 844-763-0198 for resources. This call center is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Stone pointed out that this hotline is available for Arkansans who need assessment or counseling. This counseling can be for individuals, couples or families as well as crisis intervention.
As the State Legislature meets, they are trying to trim the budget while maintaining enough funding to support these resources.