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Why mental health is especially important during these challenging times and available resources to help

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Kathryn Richards with Intermountain Healthcare Community Health visits with Surae Chinn on ABC4 today about Mental Health and also provides resources for those in need.

The potential mental health effects of COVID-19 are profound. The pandemic is associated with uncertainty, social isolation, and economic vulnerability – all major stressors linked to mental health challenges.

COVID-19’s mental health consequences are likely to be present for longer and peak later than the actual pandemic, said Kathryn Richards, Intermountain Healthcare Community Health specialist.

One of the resources available to people feeling the stress, anxiety and depression associated with the pandemic is the Intermountain Healthcare Emotional Relief Hotline. Launched in April, this free community service has received more than 3,000 calls to help support people who are seeking to address emotional health concerns during these challenging times.

The Intermountain Emotional Health Relief Hotline offers callers guidance, tools, and referrals for people experiencing issues related to their mental well-being. It’s free and can be reached seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm at 833-442-2211.

The Intermountain Emotional Health Relief Hotline connects callers with a trained care coordinator who can provide appropriate self-care tools, peer support, treatment options, crisis resources, and more.

The team of care coordinators includes navigators from Intermountain‘s Behavioral Health Clinical Program and trained caregivers from the health system’s COVID-19 Call Center.

Another community resource is Utah’s CrisisLine, which has also seen increased crisis call volumes over the past two months with an average of over 200 calls per day and the individuals calling are presenting with more severe distress.

Another resource is the state’s Live On program, a statewide public-private mental health and suicide prevention campaign that is modeled on Utah’s immensely successful Parents Empowered underage drinking prevention campaign. The Live On program disseminates and evaluates powerful and effective content across TV, radio, social media, and other outlets with a goal to prevent suicide in Utah.

If you or your family members are feeling overwhelmed, it is okay to reach out to a professional for help, including the Intermountain Emotional Health Relief Line 1-833-442-2211 (10 am-10 pm, 7 days/week), and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (24/7)

“At a time when distress and uncertainty are part of our common experience, it can be difficult to find strong emotional footing,” said Richards. “These coordinated resources and caring teams can help bolster the mental well-being of our families, colleagues, and community.

Richards offer these three tips to help people stay mentally well:

  • Care for yourself. Try to get some brief exercise. Maintain routine. Find a balance in how you consume news and internet content. Remember the activities that bring you joy and try to continue them in some way.
  • Stay connected with people you care about using technology. Try not to self-isolate. It’s normal to feel a lot of different emotions right now and important to talk with people you trust. 
  • Try to remember that things will get better eventually – and get back to normal. The world is not coming to an end. People are good and will help each other get through this.

For More information visit the Intermountain Healthcare website. If you or a family member is experiencing a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1.

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