During the current coronavirus crisis, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) isn’t just concerned with preserving people’s physical health – it’s also doing what it can to maintain good mental health across the state.
In keeping with that goal, NCDHHS has announced two new mental health hotlines to help ordinary citizens and mental health providers alike cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, there’s a mental health hotline ready to take calls from those under mental distress from the virus. The Hope4NC Helpline, 855-587-3463, connects North Carolina residents with mental health resources and offers “resilience supports that help them cope and build resilience during times of crisis.”
The line was originally set up as part of the state’s hurricane recovery efforts for certain counties – but now it’s being made available to everyone in the state affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The line is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week and callers will get to speak to a live person.
The state is also offering a Hope4Healers Helpline: 919-226-2002. That’s a new initiative being conducted in partnership with the North Carolina Psychological Foundation. That line will offer mental health and emotional support to healthcare professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders and other staff who work in health care settings.
The number is also there to help families throughout the state who are experiencing stress from being on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. This phone line is also available 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Callers will be contacted “quickly” by a licensed mental health professional.
NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Kody Kinsley said this week that these helplines are very needed right now.
“These are challenging and uncertain times for everyone,” Kinsley stated in a press release announcing the phone help. “We want to connect people to the mental health and resilience supports that they may need during this crisis to alleviate some of the anxiety and stressors that they are feeling.”
If mental health workers want to help with the initiative, Hope4Healers is recruiting and onboarding additional licensed behavioral health professional volunteers. Volunteers must register through the NC Training, Exercise, and Response Management System, known as NC TERMS. The system can be accessed through: http://www.terms.ncem.org/TRS.