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COVID-19 Emotional Support Line created for health care workers, first responders

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Posted at 4:31 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 17:33:18-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Health care workers and first responders at the front lines of the COVID-19 response now have an additional resource to help deal with the stress, anxiety and depression they may be feeling.

Governor Bill Lee and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services announced the creation of the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line for healthcare workers Thursday.

The number is: 888-642-7886.

Workers can call the above number to talk to specially-trained mental health professionals about what they've been experiencing while fighting the Coronavirus. The listeners can also help callers identify and address basic needs, and reference tools for managing stress and making a plan for self-care.

”We are grateful to the partners in this project who reached out to us to create this public-private support line. The brave Tennesseans working in healthcare right now truly are heroes, and we are proud to be a part of this effort. From the emergency department doctors and nurses to hospital support staff and dedicated employees at assisted living facilities, our healthcare workers and first responders at all levels are under tremendous pressure, and they deserve our support in every way we can offer it,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW in a press release.

The support line is a collaborative project [tn.gov] among the Mental Health Active Response Team (MHART), the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, & other Addictions Services (TAADAS), National Association of Social Workers-TN Chapter (NASW-TN), and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

“When volunteering is made simple and the volunteers’ skills are valued, not only is the community benefiting from skilled volunteers, but the volunteers are benefiting as well. We believe connecting healthcare workers and first responders to skilled volunteers will help reduce the effects of prolonged stress, such as depression, substance use disorders, and post traumatic stress disorders," said Lizzie Harrigan, LCSW, Chairperson MHART in a press release.

The TDMHSAS Statewide Crisis Line is always available at 855-274-7471 or by texting “TN” to 741-741.

Mental health professionals who are interested in volunteering can visit this link on the MHART website to submit their information [mharttn.org].