Calls to Mental Health Hotlines Over Coronavirus Are Spiking

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As cases of coronavirus continue to climb across the country, mental health professionals become exceedingly overwhelmed with people looking for extra support during this trying time. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stressed recently that "the mental health impact of this pandemic is very real." In New York alone, more than 6,000 mental health professionals have offered up virtual services for those seeking extra help. 

Non-profit mental health organization Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services reported more than 1,800 COVID-19-related calls in March compared to just 20 the month before. The top issues people are reporting have to do with anxiety, health issues, relationship struggles, and loneliness amid isolation. 

Lyn Morris, senior vice president of clinical operations at Didi Hirsch, says, "We know that the longer this goes on, unfortunately, the more losses there will be - not just lives but also economic. And the more hopeless and helpless people become, the more at risk they are for substance use, depression and other mental health issues." 

The agency has locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. The last month has shown a drastic shift in what people seeking support call to talk about. 

Parents are expressing their anxieties about their children and people who live alone are experiencing extreme loneliness. 

Many are worried about job loss, the health of their loved ones, and paying for bills. Many crisis volunteers are finding themselves trying to comfort frontline healthcare workers during this crisis.

April Rosas. a phone operator at Didi Hirsch, says it's all about knowing she's helping in any way she can. "People still need these services; they still need to be able to have a safe place to reach out to someone. If I can be that for another person, even if it's one person a day, then I did my job. I did enough," she said.