COMMUNITY

New Website Offers Mental Health Support During COVID-19

There in no doubt a shortage of local, state, and national helplines that offer support to people during their emotional or mental health crises. The problem being faced is that they’ve not been easily accessible in one searchable database, which means it might take callers or texters longer to reach out for help in order to find the resources they need.

A new website launched Tuesday by the Pandemic Crisis Services Coalition intend to change that. It’s goal is to make mental health support just a click away for people who are struggling with their emotional and mental well being during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The ability to access mental health crisis services is critical at this time, yet COVID-19 is impacting the typical ways people receive help in a crisis,” Travis Atkinson who is the president of the Crisis Residential Association and co-chair of the American Association of Suicidology’s Crisis Services Committee, said in a statement.

Travis Atkinson noted that the emergency rooms, where usually patients used to seek care for suicidal thinking and behavior or a panic attack, are now focused on treating COVID-19 patients. Meanwhile, psychiatric hospitals are decreasing their capacity in order to follow the proper social distancing guidelines. Atkinson said as quoted “People need to know how to access available mental health services,”.

The new site is debuted with a database of crisis services searchable by state, contact method, support type, topics, and categories. Someone in California, for example, could search for text-based services staffed by counselors with experience talking about anxiety. In addition to anxiety other topics include bullying, gambling, parenting, and substance use. There are several more categories that focus on demographics like gender, veteran status, age, and sexuality.

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This database includes the contact information for hundreds of helplines  a list community centers. Their dedicated volunteers and staff are trained to connect callers with local mental health providers and resources. This site also includes articles on coping with the effects of COVID-19, addition with tips for how to help a loved one, and information specifically for front-line workers who want mental health support.

The Pandemic Crisis Services Coalition is a group of international mental health organizations that banded together in March in order to create this site. It’s members include many like Crisis Text Line, the American Association of Suicidology, The Trevor Project, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If you need to talk to someone or if you are experiencing emotional distress. You can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990 or just by texting TalkWithUs to 66746. The helpline is operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They specialize in helping people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. 

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