TWIN FALLS — COVID-19 has given birth to many hotlines around the state, some local, providing different resources depending on issues people have been facing, such as picking up needed groceries or supplies. Now the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has launched its own hotline to assist in resident's mental health.
The hotline will provide trained counselors who will help people manage their emotions, stress levels, and resiliency building during these difficult times.
Depending on what a person might be going through, isolation, fear, or anxiety, different coping mechanisms will be given to what people are experiencing. They might be encouraged to focus on their sleep schedule, exercise, eat healthily, avoid alcohol, and other tools. Alacia Handy, the project director for the Idaho COVID-19 Crisis Counseling Program, said, "The representative on the line can go through breathing exercises with them. You know they might suggest ways to learn how to meditate."
A text line will also be an option people have if they do not wish to speak on the phone directly. On both lines, the caller or texter will remain anonymous. However, for those who might need extended help or treatment, the hotline will provide alternate options they have in their community.
"Any number of community resources that are available statewide, we're able to help people identify where their gaps are and how we might be able to meet those gaps," said Handy.
Since the service is still new, there has been a small number who have utilized the text or phone service. However, these numbers are expected to grow, especially since the hotline provides counseling for non-English speakers and can get a translator for any language.
The hotline is available seven days a week from 8:00 am-8:00 pm, and the number to call or text is 986-867-1073.