States, cities setting up mental health hotlines for those struggling during pandemic

Posted at 12:37 PM, Dec 31, 2021

The pandemic has taken a toll on many people's mental health, leading health agencies across the country to set up hotlines for those who are struggling.

The states of Illinois, New York and Texas and the city of Marietta, Georgia, are just some places that have set up hotlines so people to reach out.

Jennifer Battle with the Harris Center for Mental Health in Texas said the agency has been getting phone calls from health care workers, parents and teachers.

"It can be people calling about themselves, it can be people calling about their family members or loved ones," Battle said. "Most people that call this line are calling about their own anxiousness or concerns that they're experiencing."

The Harris Center for Mental Health's hotline specifically helps people with whatever they're feeling in the moment. Battle said callers usually have anxiety from an ongoing sense of uncertainty, which has been common during the pandemic.

"We spend a lot of time helping people with staying in the moment. What are some things we can do right now to mitigate some of that anxiousness they may be feeling?" Battle said.

The hotlines like the one offered by the Harris Center for Mental Health help people beyond just a phone call.

If the caller is dealing with a crisis, experts refer them to a crisis hotline. If callers feel like they need ongoing help, experts give resources to find that support. Experts refer people dealing with grief or financial problems stemming from the pandemic to groups that handle those specific issues.

Experts at the Harris Center for Mental Health say they're seeing the same call volume during the holidays this year as they saw last year. That means that as the pandemic continues, so does the need for help.