LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - With the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations, and long-term effects of the illness dominating the news cycle over the past year, physical health has been at the forefront of many people’s minds.
But what about mental health?
Keep Calm Hotline, an initiative created by the Louisiana Department of Health is aiming to help residents address their feelings of stress and anxiety.
“So far in February, we have received 142 calls on the Keep Calm Hotline,” said Sherrard Crespo, the outreach and traumatic loss coordinator for Via Link.
The hotline has been active since the spring of 2020, intending to inform and help residents cope with the emotions and stress that come along with the global pandemic.
“So the line was originally keeping calm through covid,” she said. Then we had a crazy summer with all the storms, so they took out the covid part because it was just keeping calm through all of this.”
Initiated by the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral Health, they partnered with Via Link, a local nonprofit, to operate the phone line.
“They reached out to us about this keeping calm line, once covid had hit, because so many people were needing support, you know, we were all at home, we didn’t know what was going on,” she said.
Crespo says she saw an increase in calls from the greater Lake Charles area following the hurricanes.
“We were doubling and tripling the call volume, you know, getting thousands of more calls a month from the area, aside from counseling, The Keep Calm Hotline also provides information regarding the pandemic or storms,” she said.
“We have a constantly updated, you know, fact sheet from the Department of Health in conjunction with the CDC junction with other 211 and United Ways.
The Keep Calm hotline number is 1-866-310-7977.