A US-based mental-health hotline has seen a 891% spike in calls from Americans trying to cope with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak afflicting the country. The Disaster Distress Helpline, a federally-run crisis hotline, saw a huge spike in calls from people seeking help in light of existing fears and concerns about the coronavirus, in addition to rising unemployment, grief and uncertainty about the future.
The coronavirus has impacted normal life routines, while forcing people to enter isolation, leading to higher rates of depression. US President Donald Trump acknowledged the mental health impact coronavirus has had on the American populace in a recent press conference. Last week, 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the midst of the crisis.
The national helpline is run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which provides counseling for people undergoing emotional distress during natural and human-caused disasters.
The hotline saw a 338% March increase in call volume when compared to February. Compared to March 2019, this represents a 891% increase in calls.
The helpline was launched in 2012, and has been instrumental in aiding Americans during hurricanes, mass shootings and wildfires.