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Crisis hotlines nationwide adjust to current changes

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BOISE (KIVI) — When the stay at home order was put into place, a lot of organizations realized being quarantined would have a serious impact on people’s mental health. The Crisis Hotline Idaho was one hotline who saw an increase in callers by 46% within the first month of the stay at home order being set in place.

“We care about the health and welfare, the emotional welfare of our community and right now especially we’re doing everything we can to contribute to be a part of the solution,” Tammy Davis, Executive Director of the Crisis Hotline Idaho said.

Right before the stay at home order was announced, The Crisis Hotline Idaho was in the process of implementing bilingual services, but when things began to take an uncertain turn they were forced to implement those services sooner than they had anticipated.

“And I was like we’re in. We didn’t have any money at the time to do it, but we said we know this needs to happen because especially in our Latino community we need to reach out more. We need to put boots on the ground, we need to let them know that these services are there for them,” Davis said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has always had a disaster distress helpline, but they decided to add a COVID-19 line to be able to serve everybody’s unique needs.

“What do we need to do to help people who are going through a lot of anxiety stress, fears, possibly depression related to either possibly being concerned with having an infection with the virus or being concerned about becoming ill or loved ones who are suffering,” Dr. Eleanor McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for mental health and substance use of the department of health and human services, said.

In addition to adding bilingual services, The Crisis Hotline Idaho also implemented texting services to be able to reach as many people as possible.

“I had a very young person that’s how they reached out to me was through the messaging, so that was, I mean it was hard, but that’s how they’re used to communicating so that’s why we wanted to be able to offer that service,” Davis said.

The Crisis Hotline Idaho has been able to support hundreds of families throughout the state of Idaho since the beginning of March.

“They’re really expressing how grateful they are for this service that they-you know during this time especially it really has meant a lot to them and it means a lot to me,” Davis said.

If you need support during this time you can visit The Crisis Hotline Idaho’s website or the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services website.

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