Anxious & worried: Rutgers Behavioral Health call center sees increase in calls

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The Rutgers University Behavior Health Care National Call Center says that it has seen an increase in calls regarding the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

The center says that people have been reporting feelings of uncertainty and despair that come with self-isolation and social distancing, and that it is driving them to pick up the phone to talk to a professional.

“Definitely the unknown with losing their jobs, people being separated from their families, just the unanswered questions. It’s definitely exacerbating people’s fears and anxiety at this time,” says clinician supervisor Donovan Bedward.

The operators at the call center are being sure to keep their distance in person so that they do not spread the illness. But the service remains the same.

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The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention reports that people with mental health conditions, especially those recovering from substance abuse, are among the population of people responding strongly to COVID-19 concerns.

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The Rutgers call center has a growing list of 11 different programs to meet callers’ needs, including Vets 4 Warriors, a veterans support group.

"Those calls are from across the country, so the call line has gone up some, the other programs are about the same,” says executive director Mark Graham. “We expect at some time that all the call lines are going to go up and that's what we're here for, that's what we do, that's why we're here."

The call center can be reached at 1-800-969-5300. More information can be found on the center’s website.

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