Cape Cod Virtual Support Groups

New Weekly Community Drop-In Zoom Support Groups to be offered by Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force in Response to Ongoing Pandemic Mental Health Challenges

January 10, 2022 – The Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force will be offering weekly clinician-led virtual community drop-in support groups in response to the heightened mental health needs created by the pandemic. There will be two separate groups, one for adults that will start on Monday, January 17 at 6pm, and another specifically designed for youth (approx. age 16-24) with a start date to be announced later this week. 

All sessions will take place at this link:https://salemstate.zoom.us/j/82612594409

Passcode: 138237 (The zoom link for the meetings will also be available on the Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force FACEBOOK PAGE.  https://www.facebook.com/ptowntaskforce)

The sessions will run for 10 weeks and are free and open to the public. The groups are for Provincetown residents and diaspora, and neighboring communities – residents of the Outer Cape and beyond are welcome to participate. “We are looking to offer support and build community as we all weather the stresses of the ongoing Covid crisis,” said Lise King, Task Force Director. 

The Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force is accepting donations as a non-profit project of the Provincetown Community Compact, a 501c3 organization. Please indicate the Task Force in your donation: Provincetown Community Compact, PO Box 819 Provincetown 02657.

King initiated the project as a response to the gaps in mental health service provision due to universal healthcare staffing shortages and the rising collective mental health needs. She reached out to Elspeth Slayter, a professor of social work at Salem State University known locally for her work as a leader of the PLOVR activist group, to provide project management. They brainstormed on how to solve this problem of critical need with the key challenge being how to find clinicians who have available time and energy to take on this project in the midst of a provider shortage, as psychologists and therapists reportedly have long waiting lists of those seeking care. 

Slayter suggested that they tap into her network for clinicians to run the community drop-in groups and she has successfully recruited colleagues with local connections to participate. The sessions will be non-clinical support groups run by seasoned professional clinicians. 

The youth group details will be announced later this week. The adult group will be welcoming to all and led by Jeff Driskell, a frequent visitor to Provincetown whose expertise includes providing care for LGBTQIA+ adults:

Jeff Driskell, PhD, LICSW (he/his) is a professor of social work at Salem State University. Dr. Driskell has been teaching for 14 years and practicing social work for almost 20 years. He teaches courses in social work practice, mental health assessment, research methods, and prevention theory. Dr. Driskell has direct work experience in the areas of HIV/AIDS care and prevention, providing mental health therapy, LGBTQIA+ programing, and conducting program evaluation. Dr. Driskell’s other service involvement includes being a planning member for the National Social Work Conference on HIV/AIDS, a planning member for the LGBTQIA+ older adults conference, and program evaluator for various programs. 

The schedule for the adult group includes a variety of topics to be covered, including managing loneliness and social isolation, managing stress and anxiety, exploring mindfulness, caring for the caregiver, techniques to tolerate distress and regulate emotion, and peers supporting peers. Weekly subjects will also include “open topics” where participants identify discussion topics for that particular group session, as well as free “check-in” time. 

The Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force was co-founded in March, 2020 by then Select Board Member Lise King, MPA, and nurse practitioner Alison Dwyer, APRN-BC. The Provincetown Community Compact became their fiscal sponsor. They raised over $20K via a Facebook fundraiser to launch the effort and were joined by a number of local health practitioners and other volunteers, including Dr. Scott Adelman, a part-time resident and retired cardiologist. The Task Force became officially affiliated with the Barnstable County Medical Reserve Corps, and all volunteers became members of the MRC. They collectively purchased and distributed thousands of disposable and cloth masks and other PPE, ran a warm line for crisis calls for over twelve months, hosted weekly zoom drop-in sessions, and prepared and handed out hundreds of free hot meals on Sundays in March and April 2021 prepared at St. Mary’s of the Harbor Church.

The current project is a new iteration of the Task Force with new membership, and welcomes Elspeth Slayter, Ph.D., as the Project Manager heading up the current project. 

For more information, contact:

Lise King, MPA

Director/Co-Founder, Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force

ptowntaskforce@gmail.com

Elspeth Slayter, Ph.D. | Professor | School of Social Work, Salem State University

Project Manager, Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force

eslayter@salemstate.edu

Jeff Driskell, PhD, LICSW

 jdriskell@salemstate.edu 

Jay Critchley

Executive Director, Provincetown Community Compact

Fiscal Sponsor of the Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force

jay@thecompact.org

Resources for support group members:

Below are a list of resources/contacts in the event you are in crisis, experiencing thoughts of wanting to kill yourself or harm another person. 

  1. Local to Cape Cod
    1. 911 in case of an emergency
    1. The following link will provide you with numerous behavioral/mental health resources on the Cape:  http://www.namicapecod.org/Resources
    1. Bay Cove 24/7 mobile crisis for all of Cape Cod 1-833-229-2683; https://www.baycovecapecod.org/
    1. Outer Cape Behavioral Health Care

Referrals can be initiated by calling our access center at 508-905-2888 or by speaking with your primary care team.

  • Wellfleet Community Resource Navigator 

For mental health or substance use disorder issues Brianne Smith at CRNavigator@outercape.org or calling 774-209-3222.

  • Cape Cod Healthcare, Inc. Centers for Behavioral Health

Hyannis, MA 508-862-5566

  • Cape Cod Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous

508-775-7060; 24-hour Hotline for alcohol related issues.

  • Other resources
    • Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Hotlines
      • SafeLink Toll-Free: 877-785-2020; TTY: 877-521-2601
      • National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233 (SAFE)
      • National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-4673 (HOPE)
    • Independence House Hotline

800-439-6507 24-hour Hotline to for immediate response to any physical or emotional crisis arising from abuse or sexual assault.

  • Massachusetts Substance Use Information and Education Helpline 800-327-5050
    • Parental Stress Hotline 800-632-8188; 24-Hour Hotline for Massachusetts parents and caregivers under stress.