Twin Rivers Rehab Pandemic Survival
Much has been written, documented, and videoed about regarding the global impact the Coronavirus outbreak is going to have on the world which has been quite entertaining, enlightening, motivating at times and incredibly irritating too! People are running out of ideas and so a window of opportunity arises as we experience even less distractions from future predictions, poems and COVID-19 jokes and now faced with reality again!
No matter how much clearer the skies are and how much clapping the front-line medics receive (totally deserved of course) we are no nearer to getting any clarity regarding the more immediate future which is incredibly frightening. I am somewhat envious of those in denial regarding the seriousness of the situation yet also quite pleased that I have a grasp on reality.
As a business owner, I am understandably expected to come up with some kind of magic formula that will enable Twin Rivers to continue! We are trying our hardest and with the help of some of my colleagues we have implemented three new initiatives:
- 25% off all treatment fees for South African Citizens and will apply to European clients once the borders open
- The Dragonfly Foundation is raising funds for clients with limited funds. Donations have already been received and will officially start marketing tomorrow with Mazars managing the foundation accounts
- Online counselling/recovery programmes are being developed. This needs careful planning due to internet security issues
Points to Consider Regarding the Future of Rehabs
I do think that the ‘need’ for residential rehab will return but could possibly go through some turmoil in the meantime.
Many rehabs have closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak and there are probably several rehabs who wished they had closed. Rehabs running on low numbers of clients will undoubtedly run out of money and reopening a rehab to soon could easily lead to bankruptcy as the need for addiction treatment everywhere is unstable and no guarantee of client flow. The instability is caused by no International flights as many rehabs in South Africa depend on International clients and the fear surrounding COVID-19 which has yet to reach its peak in South Africa. If a Rehab is operating and following the guidelines fully then they should only be operating at around 50% capacity. I would imagine that there are very few ‘registered’ rehabs that operate assisting South African clients only other than government rehabs!
Culling Unregistered Rehabs
On the up-side though this COVID-19 outbreak could assist in culling illegal rehabs and sober living houses. This pandemic might create an unhealthy rise in ‘cheap’ unregistered rehabs too offering basic programmes, operated by unqualified people with no idea of the complexities of addiction and mental health. Just imagine the outcome of a generation of addicts and mental health sufferers post Covid-19 being treated by unqualified and untrained ‘coaches’ and do-gooders! This will of course increase the relapse rates and mental health will be at risk off continuing to increase.
Flights from Europe may become too expensive for some potential clients creating a vastly reduced interest in travelling abroad for treatment. Rehabs may have to compensate by reviewing their treatment fees which will already be reduced in an attempt to attract clients. It is possible that International flights will not resume until next year and even then, there may well be a certain amount of reservation as to whether or not South Africa is a safe place to travel too? We have no idea how the virus outbreak is going to manifest itself in South Africa and how long it will be before we get the ‘all clear’?
Online rehab may take off for a while if people are desperate enough to go that route, but I do not think this will be long-term solution. Certain aspects of life may increase online such as shopping but at the end of the day, clients suffering with addiction and mental health disorders will always require life saving face to face counselling support which can never be replaced. We have ‘NO’ idea to what standard rehab treatment will become and we also have no idea how the rapidly increasing number of addicts and people suffering with mental health issues, such as depression are going to get much needed professional help?
I think we can safely say that life generally will never quite be the same and neither should it be! It is impossible to experience something as traumatic as this pandemic to then blindly get back on the same treadmill that we had been forced to jump from! I am now totally convinced that Twin Rivers will never be the same again and will in actual fact become a vastly improved version of itself. I sincerely hope that I get the opportunity to witness this and remain highly motivated.
I am one of thousands of people who dedicated their lives to building something meaningful and productive to now being faced with a totally foreign challenge that is testing me to the extreme creating bouts of depression and self-doubt to periods of wanting to embrace whatever this ‘opportunity’ actually is!
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process