Statewide COVID-19 mental health hotline sees increase in calls as state re-opens

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Even as the state re-opens, mental health professionals said they're still seeing an increased need for their services, and there's a hotline in Harris County now serving the entire state.

Officials with the Harris Center for Mental Health said that since launching the COVID-19 mental health hotline statewide in a partnership with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, they've received nearly 3,500 calls.

"People who are worried about their loved ones, they are worried about them being in the work environment and being exposed themselves, and then bringing that back home at the end of the day, and what kind of strategies would they have in order to be safe as a family," said Jennifer Battle, the director of access for the Harris Center of Mental Health and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As the pandemic presses forward, the concerns are also shifting, ranging from uncertainty about the future to job loss and adjusting to life as the state re-opens.

"We are feeling very uncertain. Uncertain about everything, and uncertain about the economy, and uncertain about race tensions, uncertain about the illness, and the impact on their families, so yeah people are really struggling," Battle said. "What we can do is help people to develop the coping structures and mechanisms in the moment to allow them to be able to process what they're feeling so that they don't just shut down."

The number for the 24/7 COVID mental health hotline is 833-986-1919.

The Harris Center now also offers virtual support groups for frontline workers. For more information, call 833-251-7544.

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