Disaster Distress Helpline provides immediate crisis counseling

April 14, 2020

The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, provides immediate crisis counseling to people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Natural disasters – including pandemics such as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. The Disaster Distress Helpline can provide immediate counseling to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The helpline is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week free resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling and support in dealing with the traumatic effects of a natural or human-caused disaster. The helpline is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Helpline specialists are trained to assist callers with a range of symptoms.

“People who have been through a traumatic event can experience anxiety, worry or insomnia,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use and the head of SAMHSA. “People seeking emotional help during an ongoing disaster such as a pandemic can call 1-800-985-5990 or can text TalkWithUs to 66746 – and can find recovery and coping strategies.”

The helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling centers in the nationwide network of centers. The helpline staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services.

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