Crisis Hotline Sees Spike In Calls As Pandemic Continues | WGLT

Crisis Hotline Sees Spike In Calls As Pandemic Continues

Apr 29, 2020

A crisis hotline in Bloomington is handling a sharp increase in calls as anxiety grows due to the pandemic.

PATH Executive Director Karen Zangerle said mental health and addiction-related calls from McLean and neighboring counties jumped more than 50% during a two-week stretch in April compared to March.

“I think it makes sense that will continue to go up as people are fighting their reactions to COVID and so many people are isolated and alone,” Zangerle said.

PATH fielded 294 calls related to mental health and addiction during the second and third week of April. That compares with 191 calls the agency took from March 15-31.

Zangerle said she expects calls for adolescent and family counseling to grow as families remain cooped up at home, though those numbers haven’t seen a noticeable increase yet.

“If everyone is in the household for a month, that could certainly put a lot of stress on the parenting,” she said. “This second month of shutdown, which most people understand the science is making that decision, but it doesn’t change the fact they are feeling the effects of isolation.”

The calls include 35 from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Zangerle said that's not a “huge” number, but higher than usual.

Zangerle is one several social service agency leaders in McLean County that have been meeting in recent weeks to develop a collaborative response for an expected rise in housing insecurity and other needs due to the pandemic. She said they hope to release details next week.

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