You Are Not Alone! Phone, Text & Online Crisis Connections for Coping With Stress, Sadness, Anxiety, Addiction & Other Mental Health Support

Throughout Ohio, any person - of any age - who desires free help coping with these stressful times can text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor.


Coronavirus has many people feeling distressed, which is normal in times of crisis.  Throughout Ohio, any person - of any age - who desires help coping with these stressful times can text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor.  The Crisis Text Line is a free, confidential service available 24/7 via text on mobile devices.  Data usage while texting Crisis Text Line is free and the number will not appear on a phone bill with the mobile service carrier.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) and the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), in partnership with the Governor’s Office, have developed emergency rules to expand and enhance telehealth options for Ohioans and their providers to expand access to medical and behavioral health services.  Contact your health care provider and insurance provider to discover options for virtual visits.

OhioMHAS offers resources on its Coronavirus Information page to help various groups keep informed, manage feelings and stay healthy including Families, Children & Adults; Health Professionals & Providers, and Housing Providers: .


The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers tips for dealing with stress as well:  .  

Recommendations for coping include:

  • Take breaks from the news stories, including social media.

  • Take care of your body.

    • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.

    • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

    • Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.

    • Avoid alcohol and drugs.

  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Ways to support your child (including  teens) include:  

  • Talk with your child about the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Answer questions and share facts in a way that your child can understand.

  • Reassure your child that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.

  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

  • Try to keep up with regular routines. When schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.

  • Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on Responders, who may experience secondary traumatic stress, resulting from exposure to another individual’s traumatic experiences.  Measures to reduce secondary traumatic stress reactions include:

  • Acknowledge that secondary traumatic stress can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.

  • Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).

  • Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.

  • Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.

  • Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.

  • Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation and reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

SAMHSA provides a national Disaster Distress Helpline, offering 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters, including  infectious disease outbreaks, such as the Coronavirus pandemic.  Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.  Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

SAMHSA collects information on thousands of state-licensed providers who specialize in treating substance use disorders, addiction, and mental illness.  To find treatment, enter your ZIP code at:  .


Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has always had phone and online meetings.  To find a meeting, go to:  .  Regular in-person meetings are not taking place at this time.  However, if you use the Find a Meeting feature on Cleveland’s local AA page, you will be offered links to a schedule of local groups meeting online as well as other meeting alternatives:  .


First and foremost, it is encouraged to empower yourself with facts.  You can visit for everything you need to know to prepare for, and protect yourself from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) also operates a Call Center, which is staffed from 9 a.m to 8 p.m each day, including weekends.  You can call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH with your questions about COVID-19.  

Unfortunately, legal issues can arise in times of crises that make an already-upsetting time even more stressful.  A separate article has been submitted to this edition for information about legal assistance.

Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 5:54 PM, 05.07.2020