INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Oct. 10 was World Mental Health Day.
With the pandemic, Indiana health officials said more people are battling mental health issues across the state. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction launched the “Be Well Crisis Helpline” in July. Indiana residents can call 211 to talk to a counselor 24/7 for free or go to the “Be Well Indiana” website for local resources.
Health officials said due to the increased need for mental health help, they’re extending the FEMA funded program until June of 2021. Indiana has received around $4 million from the federal government for these mental health programs.
“World Mental Health Day really does seem more important than ever,” said Kelsi Linville with Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction. “The pandemic has definitely exacerbated mental health issues, as well as substance misuse. We are seeing that people are having a lot of increased feelings of isolation, of withdrawal, of not wanting to engage in their normal activities. People are experiencing fear and anxiety.”
That’s why the state launched the Be Well Crisis Helpline. People in Indiana can call 211 and be connected with a trained crisis counselor 24/7, for free. Since July, they said almost 2,700 people have called. So far around 36% of callers report feeling isolated, 33% report having issues with sleep, and 31% report having anxiety or fear. Plus, more than half of the callers needed a referral for additional services.
“There are a lot of people who have maybe never struggled with their mental health before that, are finding now for the first time that they are needing some extra support,” said Linville.
Along with support, Linville suggests people take three simple steps every day.
“Number one, expressing gratitude. So research shows us that whenever we take a timeout to recount the things we are thankful for that actually leads to changes in the brain. It helps our overall emotional state,” said Linville.
Next, she said people should move their bodies. A little exercise daily can help. Finally, she suggests connecting with other people, even if it’s virtual.
“It is so important we maintain those relationships and support with friends and family and colleagues. We are all in this together and we need each other,” said Linville.