In March, the helpline saw a 338% increase in call volume compared with February, according to spokesperson with the agency. And compared to last year for the month of March, they had an 891% increase of calls.
The pandemic has disrupted normal life routines and lead people isolation as they stay home to curb the spread of the virus. During a recent press briefing, President Donald Trump addressed the mental health crisis stating that it is a big problem and people are struggling.
The helpline is a free resource that is offering counseling and support to anyone in emotional distress due the disaster. They can provide advice on how to cope and offer information on how to spot signs of distress in friends and family members. Crisis counselors can also give callers referrals to local crisis centers for follow up care.
The helpline was launched in 2012 and has provided assistance to residents during disasters such as hurricanes, mass shootings, wildfires, and now the coronavirus pandemic.
Staff is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. People can call, 1-800-985-5990, or even text, TalkWithUs to 66746, to be connected to a trained counselor.
People seeking help can remain anonymous and they can call for themselves or on behalf of someone else. Anyone is encouraged to use the helpline including; survivors of disasters; loved ones of victims; first responders; rescue, recovery, and relief workers; clergy; and parents and caregivers, the program’s website reads.