Indiana mental health hotlines see big increase in calls

Posted at 10:53 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 15:56:11-04

INDIANAPOLIS — More people have been calling mental health support lines lately as they struggle to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and state health officials say the increases were seen at the state's gambling, alcohol, and suicide hotlines.

Dr. Shana Markle, a licensed psychologist at Butler University, says state licensing boards are allowing clinicians to do therapy sessions over video chat during the pandemic.

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"People are taking advantage of it," Markle said. "They arrange a time to meet, have a conversation, and it seems like the clients aren't missing a beat."

She says telemedicine has been around for years, but is now becoming more relevant because of the spread of COVID-19.

"Some of the reality is really setting in this week and I think that for many people, the impact of this will start hitting in a more serious way," Markle said.

When there are problems in our lives, some of us turn to things like food or alcohol to help cope, a time tested method which only make us feel worse.

"You don't have to contribute to this problem by creating more problems by drinking all day or overeating all day," Markle said.

While it can be easy to focus on the negative things happening, Markle says this isn't something you should do for the sake of your mental health.

"Get up, pull the drapes up, see the sunshine, and try to not discount the positive things that are going on."

Anyone in the state can call 211 for more information and mental health resources.

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is working to provide flexibility to help those with mental illness.

You can also contact your insurance company to find out more information on teletherapy.

You can find additional mental health guidance here.