School district launches mental health hotline for kids distressed about coronavirus

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The coronavirus pandemic has upended the routines of many Philadelphia school students, and it's taking an emotional toll. 

With families confined together, mental health can certainly be strained. Proms and graduations are wiped out, and a laptop replaces kids' in-person interactions with friends and teachers.

Starting Monday, the School District of Philadelphia is launching a new service called the Philly HopeLine, where students and families can talk with experienced clinicians from the Uplift Center for Grieving Children

“When kids are isolated, families are isolated, there's a lot of worry, anxiety and a lot of grief over things that are lost, whether it's resources, safety, security, routine, or the death of a loved one,” explained Meghan Szafran, Uplift director of school and community services.

Uplift has been providing grief counseling in the district for the past two decades. The Philly HopeLine is funded by an anonymous donor, and it will be open through at least August. 

The free service can be reached by voice or text at 1-833-PHL-HOPE, starting Monday.

Clinicians will be available Mondays through Fridays from noon to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.