Emotional Support hotline adds text message capability

The free and confidential line will now offer assistance via text message.
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 10:54 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Tennessee’s Emotional Support Line for Pandemic Stress added a new method for people to reach out for help.

The free and confidential line will now offer assistance via text message.

Tennessee healthcare workers, first responders and all Tennesseans working in education, who are dealing with feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, or depression related to work can now call or text the Emotional Support Line at 888-642-7886 from 7 a.m.- 11 p.m. daily.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression at double the rate we’d expect in normal times, and we know this crisis has been much harder on our essential workers. We’re hopeful that this new text message capability will remove some of the stigma of asking for help and encourage more people to reach out,” said Marie Williams, LCSW, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The hotline will provide emotional support from specially trained mental health professionals who answer calls or respond to texts. The staff members provide emotional support through active listening, help identify and address basic needs and reference tools for managing stress and making a plan for self-care.

“District and school leaders, staff, and educators continue to face significant challenges due to COVID-19, and this new feature provides the opportunity for easier access to much-needed mental health resources,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are grateful to our state partners for continuing this critical support and providing additional access to free and confidential mental health services for our front line workers, including the classroom heroes who are educating our children.”

For more information on the Emotional Support Line for Pandemic Stress, click here.

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