Numerous programs are available to help residents who struggle with mental health issues. (NAPS)

Throughout the month of May, the Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Department is recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month by highlighting available resources and special events to bring awareness to mental health in local communities and help eliminate stigma around mental health issues.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increased stress and anxiety for many in our community, according to BHSD staff. “While our numbers are not large, we are hearing from more people who are anxious, depressed or feeling stressed about Covid-19 and the overall situation,” Santa Clara County Public Health spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said.

Feelings about the disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. The BHSD, staffed with essential employees, is responding and supporting the community with the following call centers and hotlines:

• Mental Health Services Call Center: Operations continue 24-hours, seven days per week at 1-800-704-0900. The call center will make referrals to available community services. If you speak another language, language assistance services are free of charge and available. Call 1-800-704-0900 (TTY: 1-800.855.7100 or 711).

• Substance Use Services Call Center: Operations continue Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm at 1-800-488-9919. Callers will be referred to detoxification and residential treatment services and to an available community outpatient program. After-hours calls requesting detoxification or residential services will be forwarded and handled through the Residential Provider Network allowing for continued placement 24/7.

• Crisis Text Line: Text-based support continues to be available and the line provides free, text-based, confidential assistance to people in need in Santa Clara County. To receive text-based support from trained crisis text line counselors, residents can text RENEW to 741741.

• Suicide and Crisis Hotline: The hotline continues to operate 24-hours, 7 days a week at 1-855-278-4204.

• Uplift Family Services’ Mobile Crisis Team: Interventions are provided 24 hours to children and teens in the community who are in acute psychological crisis. To access the daily crisis line, call 1-408-379-9085 or call toll-free 1-877-41-CRISIS (1-877-412-7474).

• Mobile Crisis Response Teams (MCRTs): Screenings and response to crisis situations continue over the phone, and when needed, crisis intervention services are delivered at locations throughout the county. Call the Mobile Crisis Response Team at 1-800-704-0900, Monday through Friday, 8am to 8pm; select option #2 to request a Mobile Crisis Response Team member. If you experience a mental health crisis outside those hours, call 1-800-704-0900. A clinician is available 24 hours, seven days per week to assess the situation and connect you to appropriate services.

• Mental Health Urgent Care: Anyone with urgent psychiatric or medication needs should go to the Mental Health Urgent Care Center, a walk-in outpatient clinic for Santa Clara County residents who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis and need help. The Mental Health Urgent Care Center is open from 8am to 10pm daily and is located at 871 Enborg Court, Unit 100, San Jose.

In the month of March, the crisis text line participated in 171 text conversations, according to Alexiou. The only other comparable month was in August 2019, just after the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, when 76 text conversations occurred.

Other ways the BHSD is supporting the county’s health and wellbeing is through a series of virtual town halls. At these town halls, culturally specific mental health information and resources for individuals, families and communities will be shared, according to a press release from BHSD staff. Participants will learn tips for managing stress, including anxiety and depression, and hear about available local mental health resources. The virtual town halls will take place on Zoom and social media livestream during the month of May.

You can also visit the BHSD website to access information about Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and Farsi.

Follow the Behavioral Health Services Department on Facebook @cscbehavioralhealth, Instagram @cscbehaioralhealth and Twitter @cschealthsystem.

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