Mental health hotline set up for Georgians to help disconnect from crisis

As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, most people are finding themselves trying to adjust to a “new normal” during a time of social distancing, isolation and economic hardships. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health volunteers and crisis counselors are standing by to help.

“Some days I’m fine. Other days I’m tired of cooking, I’m tired of staring at the wall,” said Atlanta resident Coy Malone.

FOX 5 spoke to the state’s Director of Adult Mental Health, Terri Timberlake, who says establishing a routine is key. It should include getting enough sleep, a balanced diet, exercise and setting boundaries for yourself.

“A routine is so important, that’s what is really at the core of all of this,” said Timberlake. “People are anxious and overwhelmed because they feel out of control and establishing a routine allows you to regain that sense of control.”

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This week, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health launched a 24-hour call center to help people cope and adjust. Mental Health Volunteers and crisis counselors are taking calls at all hours of the day.

The most common concern from a caller is not knowing how to disconnect from the crisis.

“If it’s not helpful tips, it’s jokes about corona[virus],” said Atlanta resident Temia Turner.

“People are feeling extremely overwhelmed and frustrated because they may want to disconnect but they may not want to miss anything,” said Timberlake. “So we recommend identifying a timeframe to receive information.”

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For some, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

“It’s hard to find a new normal because every day feels the same but it’s also very different,” said Turner.

For many, a new normal doesn’t happen overnight. Most are just taking one day at a time.

Experts say, some days will be harder than others and when they are, there’s someone to call.

“There are resources out there to help you. You don’t have to struggle or suffer alone,” said Timberlake.

The call center will remain open as long as it’s needed. Call the support line at 1-800-715-4225.

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Know how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Georiga

Best prevention measures:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


RELATED:, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates.

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