Raleigh HopeLine helps soothe worries during COVID-19 crisis

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- More people are turning to a Raleigh crisis invention hotline as they struggle with anxiety and fear caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Probably every single call that we've had referenced this in some way," said HopeLine Executive Director Lauren Foster.

Calls to HopeLine have increased by about 20 percent. There were more than 1,700 calls in March.

Foster said there are a host of reasons why people are having a hard time dealing with the crisis. Money is starting to become a problem in some households or perhaps a loved one has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Foster said self-isolation can be detrimental to someone's mental health.

"The social distancing is hard for people," Foster said. "What we've been telling people is social distancing is not emotional distancing. You can still reach out to family or friends and utilize some of the technology," she said of video messaging such as FaceTime or Zoom.

Foster encourages people to make a schedule and try to keep it, so they are not just sitting at home running down the clock every day.

"What time they wake up, when they eat breakfast, what time they are going to watch TV or do work or any of those kinds of things," she said.

Foster is also urging people not to watch news all day long.

"I think that's a trigger for a lot of people. It's being overwhelmed with information and kind of difficult information to understand how that applies to them," she said.

HopeLine offers a program that specifically reaches out to senior citizens during this time.

The Reassurance Program is designed for elderly, home-bound folks. They will receive a daily check-in phone call from volunteers.

Children can enroll elderly parents.

"It helps not only the person, but we do interact with the families as well," Foster said.

You can reach HopeLine by calling or texting (919) 231-4525 or (877) 235-4525.
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