COVID-19 and Mental Health
From the desk of ADS director Cathy Knight
Did you see the recent City Inside/Out segment on COVID-19 and mental health? Listening to host Brian Callanan’s conversation with Brad Forbes (NAMI-WA), Dr. Kira Mauseth (Seattle University), and Dr. Keri Waterland (Washington State Health Care Authority) is 21 minutes well spent. A key take-away for me was that feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and depression are very common right now. Nearly half of all adults in this country are experiencing social isolation, economic uncertainty and/or fear as a result of COVID-19.
I want to remind City of Seattle employees to take advantage of the Employee Assistance Program, available 24 hours/day, 365 days a year. City staff and their household members can call 1-888-272-7252 to connect with a Master’s trained counselor, or access Resources for Living online.
We know that our clients, friends, and extended families are also experiencing stress. There are numerous services available to the broader community, including Community Living Connections (844-348-5464), which you already know we sponsor to serve older people, adults with disabilities, caregivers, and families throughout King County. Community Living Connections can help connect clients with a broad range of services, including counseling.
ADS has printed cards with information about AARP Friendly Voices on one side and Community Living Connections on the other. Community partners are distributing these with food deliveries. Friendly Voices is a nationwide service with which you can schedule a phone call—once or on a regular basis. This free service is provided by trained volunteers (more than 1,000 across the country).
On the video linked above, I learned that a new “Warm Line” (877-500-WARM) service launched last week, operating evenings (5–9 p.m.) and weekends (12:30–9 p.m.). Hosted by Crisis Connections, this peer support (volunteer) service is available statewide. Of course, the Crisis Line (866-427-4747) is another option, staffed by professionals.
Two additional mental health hotline services are available to you and people you care about:
- NAMI-WA Crisis Resources—call 1-800-950-NAMI (7 a.m.–3 p.m. Pacific Time) or text “NAMI” to 741741 (text line open 24/7)
- Washington Recovery Help Line—call 1-866-789-1511 (24-hour help for substance abuse, problem gambling, and mental health)
Cathy Knight directs Aging and Disability Services, a division of the Seattle Human Services Department and the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle-King County.