Allen County lawmakers: Mental health resources available to Hoosiers during pandemic

Posted by: Jake Thompson  | Tuesday, April 21, 2020

STATEHOUSE (April 21, 2020) – Allen County legislators said assistance for a variety of mental health issues is available for Hoosiers struggling to cope with the overwhelming effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

State Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) said an easy way to find local resources is to call 2-1-1. The free service quickly connects Hoosiers to support near their homes and is available 24/7. Many health insurance providers also cover telehealth options for counseling and emotional support.

"Telemedicine, an often underutilized program, offers unique ways and powerful ways to receive counseling while respecting social distancing guidelines," Carbaugh said. "These services are provided through audio, video communication or video conferencing technologies or even text messaging. This is the best way to keep patients and health care providers safe during this time while simultaneously improving access to care."

According to State Rep. Dave Heine (R-Fort Wayne), social distancing and staying home may exacerbate addiction issues for those in recovery from substance abuse because they may not have access to their typical healthy coping methods. Anyone struggling can call the Indiana Addiction Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to get referrals for treatment at state-approved agencies and connections to support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

"Dealing with stress over an extended period of time can take its toll," Heine said. "It's common to feel anxious, scared or even burdened, and it's important to recognize how you are feeling. That way, you can manage those reactions and cope with tough circumstances."

Shelters have reported an increase in domestic violence since stay-at-home orders were issued. The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-332-7385, and is online at icadvinc.org where Hoosiers can seek help and find nearby programs and services.

State Rep. Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne) said for some, social distancing can trigger feelings of loneliness and suicidal thoughts. Those experiencing emotional distress can contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org for confidential emotional support.

"If possible, stay connected with family and friends," Morris said. "Relationships are key to getting through the stress and worry we all feel. Reach out often to those who already have limited social contact – those living alone, the elderly, and those quarantined with compromised immune systems – and make sure they are doing well."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers comprehensive guidance on coping with stress. Tips include keeping a routine, staying connected with family and friends, exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. More information can be found at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Stay updated on what Indiana is doing to address COVID-19 by visiting IN.gov/coronavirus

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State Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) represents House

District 81, which includes a portion of Allen County.

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State Rep. Dave Heine (R-Fort Wayne) represents House

District 85, which includes a portion of Allen County.

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State Rep. Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne) represents House

District 84, which includes a portion of Allen County.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.