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Mental health hot line to help New Yorkers deal with health crisis

NEW YORK STATE — Providing New Yorkers in need of mental health support a lifeline during the coronavirus pandemic, the governor announced a new statewide hot line last week.
Days later, New York State Senator Sue Serino (R-41) sent out a mass email about the state’s efforts to help recruit qualified health professionals — both current and retired — from various health fields for the hot line.

“While we cannot be physically together during this trying time, our community is finding unique ways to help one another and make meaningful connections,” Serino said. “If you, or a loved one, are struggling with stress, anxiety or depression; trying to cope with self-isolation; or are feeling overwhelmed by the various uncertainties we’re all experiencing right now, it is important for you to know that you are never alone.”

The call for volunteers did not fall on deaf ears. Gov. Cuomo announced on Wednesday, March 25, a total of 40,000 healthcare workers (including retired professionals and students) have signed up to volunteer for the hot line, and that more professionals were expected to sign up in the coming weeks. Days later, that proved to be true. Another 6,000 mental health professionals have signed up to provide free online mental health services to those in need, according to governor’s website. www.governor.ny.gov.

To learn more about how to get involved, health, mental health and other related professionals should go to www.coronavirus.health.ny.gov to complete a survey that will assess their qualifications along with their “interest and ability to be able to provide your services to treat patients if the need should arise in the future.”

The online survey is geared toward finding back-up assistance. The state needs “the help of qualified medical professionals to supplement our state public health system’s capacity to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients, including those that may need to be hospitalized and intubated.”

Dial the state hot line at 1-844-863-9314 and contact the Dutchess County HELPLINE by calling or texting 845-485-9700.

Cuomo gave a COVID-19 update on Friday, March 27, from the city; he repeated the call for mental health professionals to provide services electronically. He also thanked those who have already done so.

“The number of people coming forward, so far 62,000 volunteers for medical personnel,” said Cuomo, “how beautiful is that? These are people who are retired.”

Serino added on Friday, “As of today, over 10,000 mental health professionals have answered the call, helping to making that toll-free hot line a reality.”

“This is a taxing situation on everyone in isolation at home,” said Cuomo. “You are home, alone, day after day after day, that is a stressful situation. [People think], ‘I don’t know what’s going on,’ and are afraid to go out. You’re isolated with your family, that’s a stressful situation — not that we don’t love to be with family, we all do, but that can create stress. There’s no place to go, no one to talk with, so offering mental health services over the phone is a very important service.”


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