Huge jump in number of people using Naperville-based Crisis Text Line, many seeking help for depression and anxiety linked to COVID-19

The number of people using the DuPage County Crisis Text Line more than doubled in March, the month the state closed restaurants and implemented the coronavirus stay-at-home order, figures reported by a Naperville nonprofit show.

“I can’t think of a time of crisis or uncertainty like this,” said KidsMatter CEO and Executive Director Kamala Martinez, whose agency monitors the local text line.

Nearly three years ago, KidsMatter and other members of Naperville’s Collaborative Youth Team partnered with the national Crisis Text Line to give everyone with a cell phone a discreet way to receive 24/7 counseling.

Instead of calling, users text “REACH” to 741741 to connect with crisis counselors who can provide safe and confidential help. It first was piloted in Naperville and then rolled out throughout DuPage County in 2017.

Martinez said in an average month the crisis line receives 250 to 300 texts, but in March the call volume increased two and a half times.

Data collected by the national Crisis Text Line shows two-thirds of the texters indicated they were experiencing more intense anxiety and depression associated with COVID-19.

Of those texters, nearly seven in 10 indicated they were feeling more isolated from others compared to how they normally feel, data showed.

Half indicated they felt left out and 65% felt depressed or hopeless. In addition, 58% expressed they had little interest in doing things and 60% said they can’t stop worrying.

Martinez said adults are struggling with the stress over changes in their jobs and finances.


Click here to read the rest of the Chicago Tribune article. 

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