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Major Increase In Calls To Northeast Ohio Mental Health Hotline

The stress from the coronavirus pandemic is one of the factors behind an increase in calls to the Northeast Ohio mental health hotline this year.

Officials from the Cuyahoga County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board, or ADAMHS Board, are concerned that the added stress from the holidays will make it even more difficult for some people to cope.

The agency created a booklet to help people cope with the pandemic and the holidays in a healthy way, including tips for those who have to be alone due to social distancing, or those grieving loved ones, said Scott Osiecki CEO of the ADAMHS Board.

“We want people to know that you can still have a good holiday, even with the additional stressors,” Osiecki said.

 Drinking and addiction issues have been a big problem in the pandemic, he said.

“Because people are feeling the stress, they often turn to self-medication, which could be alcohol or other drugs,” Osiecki said.

“So we want people to know to limit your drinking, even if you’re a regular social drinker, it’s best to limit alcohol during the holidays.”

Calls to the hotline from people specifically seeking support for mental health issues or substance abuse disorders increased 50 percent compared to the previous year, according to FrontLine Services, which runs the hotline.

Call volume, in general, this year has been at least 10 percent higher each month than in previous years.

The booklet is available on the Cuyahoga County ADAMHS board website

The ADAMHS Board also sent it out by mail, specifically using addresses in zip codes that might have a harder time accessing the booklet on their website, Osiecki said.

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