New Mexico Human Services Department has launched a statewide mental health support line to help New Mexicans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cope with COVID-19 Crisis Counseling program provides free and confidential short-term mental health services to New Mexicans. Anyone seeking free and confidential counseling to help cope with social isolation and other challenges brought on by the pandemic can call 505-954-1057. The phone line is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The operator will connect you with a crisis counselor within 24-hours.
“It can be helpful to talk to someone when you are facing anxiety, depression and stress, which are common emotions to experience when dealing with all the uncertainties of the pandemic,” said Neal A. Bowen, PhD, director of the Behavioral Health Services Division. “Through this program, we are connecting New Mexicans with crisis counselors who can provide support to those who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.”
A June 2020 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40.9 percent of respondents reported “at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition,” including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse, with rates that were three to four times the rates one year earlier. Of the 5,412 U.S. adults surveyed, 10.7 percent reported seriously considering suicide in the last 30 days.
COVID-19 crisis counseling helps those individuals and groups having psychological reactions to large-scale federally declared disasters recover. Disaster crisis counseling is a strength-based, outreach-oriented approach to help those affected by disasters understand they are having a normal reaction to an unusual situation, identify their individual needs and link them to personal and local community resources.
Crisis counselors also work to enhance social and emotional connections to others in the community and promote effective coping strategies and resilience. Crisis counselors work closely with community organizations to get to know the available resources and connect survivors to needed services.
The National Center for Health Statistics partnered with the Census Bureau to obtain information on the frequency of anxiety and depression symptoms. New Mexico ranked third highest in the country for those symptoms.