NMHSD offering counseling service to help New Mexicans cope with COVID-19 pandemic


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SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — New Mexico Human Services Department (NMHSD) announced it has launched a statewide mental health support line to help New Mexicans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cope with COVID-19 Crisis Counseling program offers free and confidential counseling to help New Mexico residents cope with social isolation, NMHSD said. The service also offers counseling for mental or emotional challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“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.”

In June 2020, a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40.9 percent of participants reported “at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition”. According to NMHSD, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress and substance abuse rates were 3 to 4 times the rates 1 year earlier. Of the 5,412 U.S. adults surveyed, 10.7 percent reported seriously considering suicide in the last 30 days.

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.

Anyone who would like to use the service can call 505-954-1057. NMHSD said the phone line is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and you will be connected with a crisis counselor within 24 hours.

To date, over 6,000 people have been served. This program ends in the fall of 2021.

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