Calling the coronavirus pandemic a “deeply unprecedented moment,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration announced a new program that will allow Illinois residents to talk to a mental health professional, free of charge, during the COVID-19 crisis.
The program, called “Call4Calm,” was launched Saturday by the state’s Human Services Mental Health Division. Illinois residents wanting to speak to a mental health care professional can text the word “TALK” to 552020, and the service is free to use, according to the governor’s office.
“We are living in a deeply unprecedented moment, and holding the emotional ramifications of that inside will only be harder on you,” Pritzker said. “Please know that you don’t have to feel it all alone. I want you to know that we’re here to help.”
If residents text the hotline, they will receive a follow-up text message asking for their first name and for their zip code. The information will be used to connect the caller with a health care professional in their area, according to the state, and those who call the hotline will remain anonymous.
“My administration is here to serve you and help see you through this time of crisis,” Pritzker said. “This text line is just one more way that we can meet you where you are.”
The service is also available in Spanish by texting “HABLAR” to 552020.
In addition, the phone number can be used to seek help and guidance on other critical issues during the pandemic. Residents can text keywords like “unemployment,” “food,” or “shelter,” according to the governor’s office, and they will receive additional information in response.