Pandemic emotional support line opened to educators

Posted at 3:23 PM, Dec 01, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Teachers now have someone to call for emotional support and help with managing the pressures of teaching during a global pandemic.

The Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) announced that the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is now available for all Tennessee educators.

COVID-19 Emotional Support Line: 888-642-7886 or text “TN” to 741-741

Available daily from 6 a.m.- 10 p.m.

"So you see all of the normal work that has to happen in a school year to get our kids educated at a high level, and we also have all of the other constraints that come along with the pandemic,” said Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, "they’re working harder, oftentimes balancing their own children at home with teaching the children of others, and they’re needing a space to be able to talk about the things that they’re experiencing".

It was initially created to help health care, frontline workers and first responders at the beginning of the pandemic, but as conditions have worsened and the state has reached new COVID-19 highs, the call line was opened to teachers.

“When we created this Emotional Support Line with our partners back in May, it was intended for those working on the front lines of the pandemic working in health care and as first responders. Due to the outpouring of support as well as capacity, we are grateful to be able to announce this expansion to offer needed support to educators across the state of Tennessee,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW in the press release.

"This line provides an opportunity for them to vent, for them to say 'look I am stressed or I am experiencing anxiety or I am not getting everything done that I want to get done and I need an outlet to process that',” said Schwinn.

The support line provides free and confidential support from specially trained volunteer mental health professionals to callers experiencing increased anxiety and stress due to the national pandemic.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant challenges, anxiety and stressors for many, including those doing the work of educating our kids,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn in a press release. “We are grateful to our partners at TDMHSAS for extending access to this resource to all Tennessee educators, who now can get critical supports from trained mental health professionals in a confidential setting.”

Learn more about the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line here.