Health care professionals and essential workers are braving the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic — but that invaluable work can come with cost and compromise to their mental health.
That is why Crisis Text Line and Kids Help Phone have teamed up to launch a new campaign called For The Frontlines. The text line is a fast, free, around the clock resource for frontline workers struggling with anxiety, stress, fear, and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The text line comes in response to a drastic increase in outreach to crisis lines. According to a statement sent to Global Citizen, in March alone, outreach to the Crisis Text Line from essential and frontline workers multiplied by four times. And as positive cases and fatalities climbed, calls about distress and grief rose in tandem.
More than 6,000 volunteers are working the lines of For The Frontlines — 17% of whom work in medicine and health care themselves, hoping to help their own.
To support health care professionals and essential workers who are increasingly putting their lives at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, we created #ForTheFrontlines with our affiliates to get our crisis counseling services to the heroes of this pandemic:https://t.co/s2cqI8sdjU— Crisis Text Line (@CrisisTextLine) April 7, 2020
An overwhelming majority of texters, 78%, are expressing intense anxiety, according to data shared with Global Citizen. Feeding into that anxiety are increasing physiological worries, with “symptom,” “fever,” and “cough” among the top words used by texters.
Another growing anxiety is financial strain, and while the virus has had economic fallout in every financial bracket, roughly half of all texters in crisis are from low-income households. With rent still due and bills looming, that financial noise is magnified, with the words “furloughed,” “landlord,” and “laid off” as common threads among callers.
Texters now at home — practicing social distancing to help flatten the curve and reduce the toll on hospitals — have reached out as well. Of the conversations in which quarantine is mentioned, 35% expressed loneliness; mentions of sexual assault and emotional abuse are 25% higher in such settings; and eating disorders issues are 45% higher as well.
Among those calling in emotional distress, another troubling trend has emerged: outreach from Asian-Americans has doubled, citing bullying, harassment, and depression related to the virus.
The strain and fallout from COVID-19 has been felt worldwide, but for those on the frontlines, the fight has also become an emotional battlefield. As the virus continues its relentless spread, that psychological stress will likely increase. If you or someone you know are need of support, text FRONTLINE for free crisis counseling:
- USA text 741741
- UK text 85258
- Canada text 741741
- Ireland text 086 1800 280