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Maine Crisis Line sees spike in calls with stay-at-home orders ramping up

The Opportunity Alliance says it has seen as much as a 50-percent increase in call volume amid the coronavirus outbreak.

PORTLAND, Maine — More and more Mainers struggling in isolation amid the coronavirus are reaching out to the Maine Crisis Line for help.

 "It's been full-on responding, responding, responding,” Joe Everett with The Opportunity Alliance said. “We managed through September 11th 20 years ago, but this different."

With a lot of fear and unknown around the coronavirus, Everett said both the state’s 211 and crisis lines have been busier than ever.

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The Maine Crisis Line alone has seen at least a 50-percent increase in calls—with upwards of 350 a day.

“The facts that there's so many unknowns still. It's concerning to us and our callers,” Everett said.

Most of the Crisis Line staff is working remotely with people online 24/7 to respond to calls or texts. Everett said they have experienced an increase in the use of the texting service too, especially among young people.

“We're hearing a lot of grief from callers,” he said. “A lot of special events that aren't going to happen like high school graduation, college graduation."

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The National Alliance for Mental Illness or NAMI Maine is now offering support online, with virtual support groups and social media live streams on Facebook.

"We keep trying to find ways to meet the need,” Executive Director Jenna Mehnert said. "I know there's all these messages about we'll get through this, but the way we get through this is with action."

TIPS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

1) Stay in contact with friends and family. Use social apps and video calls. Check in.
2) Keep your regular routine. Write it out. Take breaks. Eat at normal times.
3) Don't binge those shows and stay active! Go outside for fresh air. Go for walks. Don't sit all day.

"Sitting around and watching the news and thinking about this situation is devastating to people's well-being,” Mehnert said.

If you or someone you know needs help you can call or text the Maine Crisis Line at 1-888-568-1112.

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