BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Department of Health is offering mental health support for coronavirus frontline workers who may be struggling while treating or helping others.

“As important as our physical health and wellness is right now, we must also emphasize mental health,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “From people who are cut off from loved ones or living in difficult situations, to those working on the frontlines in stores or in healthcare settings, support is available to those who need it.”

The state’s helpline for mental health and substance use has experienced an increase in calls, with 211 calls increasing from 1,619 in February to 2,345 in March.

The state has been working to make sure frontline workers reach out for help before reaching a crisis point and the state is offering the following resources:

  • New public service announcements targeting people in extreme stress situations
  • Virtual recovery and wellness resources
  • Suicide prevention guidance
  • Mental Health FAQs for healthcare workers, parents and other audiences
  • Discussion groups and weekly webinars for behavioral health providers

“It is vital that we are proactive about addressing mental health concerns,” said Dr. Aliya Jones, Deputy Secretary for BHA. “Even after the critical data points have gone in the right direction, due to the nature of the pandemic, this crisis has the potential to have a long-term impact on all of us. Disasters are known to be followed by increases in PTSD, depression, substance use, suicidal thoughts and attempts, domestic violence and child abuse. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. We can minimize increases in these after effects by taking advantage of available emotional support and treatment resources.”

Here’s some other resources to get help:

If you have resources to share with the health department or a collaboration idea, email bha.inquiries@maryland.gov.

For COVID-19 guidance specific to behavioral health professionals, visit bha.health.maryland.gov/Pages/bha-covid-19.aspx.

For information and resources regarding COVID-19, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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