State sets up a number people can call if they’re stressed by COVID-19

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If you find yourself stressing out over COVID-19, the state has a number you can call for help.

Called Washington Listens, the program is for people with elevated levels of stress caused by the pandemic.

The anonymous support line is 1-833-681-0211 and is available for free from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

“Washington Listens helps people cope and strengthen their resiliency in these uncertain times,” said Sue Birch, director of the Washington State Health Care Authority, the agency managing the program. “It complements the state’s behavioral health response services by providing an outlet for people who are not in crisis but need an outlet to manage stress.”

Funding for Washington Listens comes through a $2.2 million Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program grant funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“This pandemic has had far-reaching effects that extend beyond our physical health. We are still in this fight against this virus, and this assistance will help Washingtonians recover during this uniquely stressful time,” said Mike O’Hare, FEMA Region 10 administrator.

All support specialists receive training that covers support skills to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also will have information on local resources for help.

Providers and tribes that have partnered with Washington Listens include American Indian Community Center, Colville Tribe, Community Integrated Health Services, Crisis Connections, Frontier Behavioral Health, Okanogan Behavioral Healthcare, and Swinomish Tribe.