The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD located in Houston is providing a COVID-19 24/7 mental health support line that covers Victoria.

The number is 833-251-7544.

“They were getting calls (on the COVID-19 information hotline) from people who are anxious and scared and didn’t know what to do, so we were getting questions about where do we send these people when I got this information at the same time,” said Lane Johnson, chief clinical officer at Gulf Bend Center. “So it was perfect timing.”

The Harris Center is a partner in hotlines that covers the Victoria area. This particular line is devoted specifically to people who are feeling anxiety, stress and distress with fear and worries, Johnson said. This is not an information hotline. The COVID-19 information hotline number is 361-580-5796.

“It’s a live voice to talk to that listens and encourages and helps them walk through this,” Johnson said. “When we have those acute fears and worries, it helps to have someone who can help walk us through how to manage those things.”

Johnson said it’s good to map out a plan about how to spend the day and not let worries ruminate and build inside. He also said that talking on the phone or computer with friends is helpful when possible.

“It’s always helpful if getting overwhelmed to have somebody I can talk to and who will listen and will talk back,” Johnson said. “We do better when we have someone who is caring and supportive and helps us problem solve.”

The hotline can help with this, too.

“The support hotline helps people identify their usual coping mechanisms and how to engage them and put them into place,” Johnson said. “When we are anxious or scared, we don’t think fast enough, and we forget all those tools we usually use to get through tough times.”

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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