Text line available for mental health issues
As new variations of COVID-19 surge and additional public health precautions come to the forefront, many of us are taking extraordinary steps to protect our physical well-being, while putting our mental health under a tremendous strain.
Over 700,000 Americans have died due to the COVID-19 virus, and those of us who remain, their family and friends, are faced with the grief of losing someone dear to us as yet another layer of the mental health challenges triggered by this pandemic. All of this is on top of the other daily issues we may face, such as illnesses, job stress, addiction and caregiving for parents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, three in 10 Americans reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in 2020. The percentage of survey respondents experiencing suicidal ideation nearly doubled to 11 percent.
I've spent much of my career in the Illinois General Assembly advocating for greater access to mental health care for Illinois citizens. I want everyone to know you don't have to suffer alone. Over the past 18 months, we have learned that it is OK not to be OK.
That is why I am working with Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services to promote the new free-of-charge emotional support text line -- Call4Calm.
I encourage everyone in our community to familiarize themselves with the free, 24/7 mental health text line by texting "TALK" or "HABLAR" to 552-020 to be connected to a local counselor who can provide information on available resources. Those in need of crisis services can contact the 24/7 Crisis Text Line by texting REACH to 741-741 to talk to a trained crisis counselor.
By simply reaching for our ever-present smartphone and encouraging friends, neighbors and family members to do the same, we can begin to protect our mental health.
State Rep. Deb Conroy