The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has launched a new hotline, called the "COVID Careline," to help Ohioans struggling with mental health issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Mike DeWine announced during his Wednesday afternoon briefing.
"We understand that Ohioans are struggling," said DeWine.
The COVID Careline is a toll-free and confidential line staffed by certified counselors and social workers. It will be available for Ohioans from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day; OhioMHAS director Lori Criss said if anyone calls that number during off-hours, the number will route to the National Suicide Helpline, so no one will be without a response in a time of need.
“It is completely natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a disaster,” said Criss in a press release. “Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and respond in ways that help you and your family remain healthy now and in the future. Our hope is that the Careline will help thousands of Ohioans connect with resources and services they need to create wellness in these uncertain times.”
Criss said the trained staff working on the new hotline will guide callers through a conversation to determine what stressors and situations are affecting their mental health. Staff will then offer help, including connecting the caller with access to local resources and facilities in their hometown.
Anyone in need of help or support can call the COVID Careline at 1.800.720.9616.