There’s an ever-growing number of free telephone and online resources for Utahns who are dealing with stress and anxiety brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and related job losses. Morissa Henn, the Community Health program director at Intermountain Healthcare, is part of the group that formed the Emotional Health Relief Hotline to help Utahns with mental-health needs as they arise.
“We welcome people to call who may be just stressed but are doing OK, all the way up through people who really kind of need to a professional — who are experiencing higher levels of distress — all the way up to those who may be in a full-on psychological or suicidal crisis,” she said.
The Emotional Health Relief Hotline is staffed 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Henn said a number of factors are combining to make some people feel like their world is spinning out of control.
“The social distancing and closures of business and school really are increasing a sense of isolation and a sense of socioeconomic stress,” she said.
The stay-at-home directives have also caused an uptick in domestic violence incidents, which can involve partners, children and even older family members, according to Henn.
“For people who aren’t safe in their homes, this is a uniquely vulnerable and scary time, and so we have trained all of our caregivers how to respond to those individuals," Henn said. "And, then again, how to connect them with resources to hopefully improve their safety.”
She added the pandemic has caused many people to lose connections with others in their support system. Her group’s 70-plus caregivers have handled more than 500 calls over the hotline’s first two weeks of operation.
For those struggling with depression, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts, help is available at the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or via chat at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.