The Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services have partnered with other statewide organizations, to provide a COVID-19 Emotional Support Line for all Tennessee educators.
According to a news release, the emotional support line provides free and confidential support from specially trained volunteer mental health professionals to callers experiencing increased anxiety and stress due to the ongoing pandemic.
The COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is open from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. CT daily by calling 888-642-7886.
Emotional support includes active listening, helping callers identify and address basic needs and informing callers about tools for managing stress and strategies for self-care.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant challenges, anxiety and stressors for many, including those doing the work of educating our kids,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in the news release. “We are grateful to our partners at TDMHSAS for extending access to this resource to all Tennessee educators, who now can get critical supports from trained mental health professionals in a confidential setting.”
In May, the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line was created by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, along with the Mental Health Active Response Team, the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, and other Addictions Services and the National Association of Social Workers-TN Chapter.
This support line is meant for healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response.
“When we created this Emotional Support Line with our partners back in May, it was intended for those working on the front lines of the pandemic working in health care and as first responders. Due to the outpouring of support as well as capacity, we are grateful to be able to announce this expansion to offer needed support to educators across the state of Tennessee,” TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams said in the news release.
The state said that while the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line does offer support, it does not specifically offer mental health treatment and is not intended to replace mental health crisis or suicide prevention services.
The TDMHSAS Statewide Crisis Line is available at 855-274-7471 or by texting “TN” to 741-741.
“We at MHART are so thankful to be able to be a part of facilitating the expansion of this Emotional Support Line to all teachers and educators across the state of Tennessee," ” MHART Executive Coordinator T.J. Stone said in the news release.
"The fact that 5 statewide organizations have come together in the span of just a few weeks to support this expansion is a testament to the goodwill of Tennesseans and to the desperate need for a service like this for educators who have been struggling during this pandemic now more than ever. We are committed to being there for our teachers because they are committed to being there for our kids in one of the noblest and oldest professions. The future of our state depends on their success."