NYS launches COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline; Coronavirus Creates Stressful “New Normal”

BREWSTER—The coronavirus pandemic has created a highly stressful and anxiety-provoking situation on multiple fronts, but support is available. Putnam mental health providers are using video platforms and online meeting software like Facetime, Duo and GoToMeetings to stay connected with clients. Additionally, a NYS COVID Emotional Support Helpline is launched with more than 10,000 volunteer therapists.

For New York State residents who could benefit from mental health support, the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline at 844-863-9314 is staffed 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week. The phone line is staffed with specially trained volunteer professionals who are there to listen, support and refer if needed. For individuals in crisis, the Putnam County Crisis Hotline remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days each week and can be reached at 845-225-1222, and the National Suicide Prevention Talkline continues at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24/7, with special supports for Veterans by pressing 1 after dialing.

“The concerns that people have are real and valid,” said Ms. Castellano, MPA, who serves as executive director of the non-profit Mental Health Association of Putnam County. “The key thing is to realize what you can control and focus on that. Self-care should not be underestimated.”

Maintaining daily routines and self-care practices such as eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise are all important ways to alleviate stress and anxiety. “Reducing your risk for the virus will also help alleviate anxiety,” said Michael Piazza, Commissioner of Social Services and Mental Health. This means the highly effective, if repeated advice, for good hand hygiene and social distancing, as well as avoiding misinformation.

When a general COVID-19 question does arise, the first number to call is 2-1-1. Available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week, their operators speak English and Spanish, with other translation services available.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealthNY and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.