A Shining Light In The Storm

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Pride Institute is a GLBT-specific treatment center for those living with substance use disorders and addiction. Photo courtesy of Pride Institute

The coronavirus pandemic has been a particularly stressful time for all of us, whether that stress is financial, emotional, or physical. In addition to being forced to dramatically alter one’s daily routines and contend with financial uncertainties, the more vulnerable among us in our communities have been especially at risk due to the impact of the health crisis. This is especially true for those recovering from substance use disorders and addiction.

A major institution in assisting those living with addiction in Minnesota has been the Pride Institute, the first treatment center for addiction and substance use disorders specific to the GLBT community. The institute—which has a residential location in Eden Prairie and outpatient sites in Minneapolis and Rochester—originally opened in 1986 to directly respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. As of press time, Pride Institute remains fully operational at all locations.

“We are taking proactive steps to keep our clients and team members safe, including screening all individuals upon entering our residential facility, and offering Teleheath services to allow the continuation of outpatient treatment services to encourage vital social distancing practices,” said Pride Institute director of business development Lucas Miller. “We have implemented additional training for all employees on hand-washing and hand sanitization, and strict employee and client compliance with washing/sanitizing hands thoroughly and often. We have increased the frequency of required cleaning and sanitization for all our sites.”

Miller agreed that the COVID-19 crisis has had a particularly negative impact among those in the recovery community.

“I think it is a really hard time, in general, for all people, but especially for people in recovery,” said Miller. “So much of successful recovery requires creating daily habits to set themselves up for long-term success. We are currently in a time where the whole world has been put on pause, and with that, comes more time to return to substance use and also trigger feelings of loneliness.”

Pride Institute offers a residential treatment center for adults, a partial hospitalization program with lodging, an intensive outpatient program, and a family therapy-centric Kindred Program among their services. Pride Institute offers 24/7 assistance from their admissions staff. During the current outbreak, all in-person visitations have been suspended.

While Pride Institute is being diligent in taking care of their staff and patients during this crisis, many families outside of the program may have members who are dealing with substance use and addiction issues.

“There are several online recovery support meetings available for anyone’s preference,” said Miller. “There are LGBTQ-specific, gender specific, drug-of-choice-specific, etc. Several organizations, such as PRIDE, are now offering Telehealth services so that people are able to meet and talk with therapists. There are also several free meditation and stress relief apps you can use online or by your smartphone.”

Individuals and local businesses can do much to assist Pride Institute during this difficult time.

“There is a shortage across health care organizations for health care supplies,” said Miller. “We are reaching out to current businesses, currently not operating, to see if they may be able to provide masks, gloves, thermometers or hand sanitizer, either as a donation or for us to purchase.”

“We are all in this together,” Miller added. “We are doing all we can to see everyone safe and slow the spread.”

To learn more about Pride Institute and how you can help provide donations or supplies, visit pride-institute.com or call 1-888-616-5031.

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