The COVID-19 pandemic has put a heavy strain on Alaska’s health care and emergency response systems and more importantly, the people who keep those systems running and provide care and support to Alaskans with medical needs. The pressure and stress this workforce is under, on top of significant disruptions to family support due to social distancing restrictions, can be difficult to bear and have a considerable impact their mental health.
The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) recognizes the importance of maintaining the mental, emotional and physical health and well-being of each of these individuals and so DHSS is offering a new resource that provides behavioral health support to those who need it during these trying times. At the recommendation and direction of Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Behavioral Health has set up the AK Responders Relief Line specifically for health care providers and those working on the frontline of the COVID-19 response.
The AK Responders Relief Line is an free, anonymous call line available seven days a week, 24 hours a day for first responders including EMTs, doctors, nurses, health aids, social workers, CNAs and others working on the front lines of this crisis. Other hospital and facility staff, such as respiratory therapists, those working in dietary services, facilities/maintenance and admitting are also welcome to contact this new support service. The service is here to support anyone who is at risk of exposure to COVID-19 as a result of their job in a medical setting.
The following services are available through the AK Responders Relief Line:
- Immediate behavioral health support from a person trained in brief intervention, as well as suicide screening and prevention services
- Referrals to Alaska behavioral health services and supports, and
- Referrals to practical supports, such as housing assistance, food, etc.
Just as you are there for your patients who need you, please know your behavioral health colleagues are standing by for you. If you’re feeling anxious, having trouble sleeping, depressed, need help coping, or just want to talk to someone about your day, please call 844-985-8275 anytime.
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