Tennessee’s Emotional Support Line service now offers help via text messaging

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The state of Tennessee is now offering a new resource for health care and education professionals dealing with mental health issues amid the pandemic.

Launched in May 2020, Tennessee’s Emotional Support Line for Pandemic Stress has been a free and confidential hotline available to health care workers, first responders and educators dealing with depression, anxiety, sadness and other mental health issues stemming from their jobs.

On Monday, the state announced the service has been upgraded, allowing those seeking help to speak one-on-one with a licensed mental health professional via text message. The person on the other end of the line will actively listen, provide tools for managing stress and help create a self-care plan among other things.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression at double the rate we’d expect in normal times, and we know this crisis has been much harder on our essential workers. We’re hopeful that this new text message capability will remove some of the stigma of asking for help and encourage more people to reach out,” said Marie Williams, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Professionals are available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and the service is free. To reach out, simply call or text 888-642-7886.

Anyone needing mental health help regardless of occupation can call the Tennessee Crisis Line at 1-855-274-7471. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

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