Coronavirus News: Isolation, unemployment impacting mental health

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- As many people are confined to their apartments and homes by the COVID-19 virus, mental health officials find that more of them are reaching out for help.

"The level of heightened anxiety, heightened stress. Trauma as a result of what has been going on. The calls have a different kind of flavor to them generally," Matt Kudish, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City.

He says they are seeing a 60% increase in calls to their helpline.

With so many programs closed it's become even more difficult for people in need of mental health support to find those services remotely, he said.

But NAMI-NYC's helpline is still answering critical calls for help.

The support groups though would normally get together, but they obviously can't get together under the current situation.

"We have about 15 groups taking place every week that are meeting in a video conference. Getting eyes on one another and actually having conversations like this is incredibly calming," he said.

Nationally, the "Disaster Distress Helpline" at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration last month saw an 891% increase in call volume compared to a year ago, officials told ABC News. It is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

They believe many more will find themselves in "dire straits" and facing an unfolding "mental health crisis" with some agencies not yet properly prepared.

A spokesperson told ABC News last month the helpline received more than 22,000 calls and text messages seeking help.

NAMI-NYC helped 19,000 individuals last year. Call the NAMI-NYC Helpline at 212-684-3264.

As much as we can facilitate opportunities for people to still connect with others that is the most important thing that we can do," Kudish said.

Mental Health Helplines

NY STATE
1-844-863-9314
If you are overwhelmed right now, the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is staffed by specially trained volunteers who can help.

NYC
Get Help Now Don't wait. Connect with someone who will listen and help.
Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355)

NEW JERSEY
The NJ MentalHealthCares Help Line offers telephone counseling, emotional support, information and assistance in helping to get behavioral health services needed by you or a loved one. For assistance or more information, please call the toll-free, confidential number: 1-866-202-HELP (4357).
Those who may be having suicidal thoughts should call 1-855-NJ-HOPELINE (855-654-6735).

CONNECTICUT
Are you worried for yourself or someone else?
Are you thinking about suicide?
If you live in Connecticut, please take one moment and dial 2 1 1 and press 1 If outside of CT dial 1-800-273 8255

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