SALEM, Ore — The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Lines for Life are working together to launch a new helpline to address impacts of COVID-19 and the wildfire season.
Portland-based nonprofit Lines for Life and OHA launched the Safe + Strong Helpline at 800-923-4357 (800-923-HELP). The line offers free, 24/7 emotional support and resource referral to everyone, not only those experiencing mental health crisis.
OHA said the Safe + Strong Helpline is in response to emotional support needs during disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires.
The program is funded through the CARES Act. Callers are routed to a counselor who can provide emotional support, mental health triage, drug and alcohol counseling, or crisis counseling.
"The ongoing pandemic along with multiple other stressors are affecting Oregonians’ mental health," OHA Director Patrick Allen said in a news release. "We hope Oregonians will reach out to get the support they need and share resources with others in their communities. It’s OK to ask for support, and we want to make it as easy as possible to take the first step to get help."
"This line is for anyone who doesn’t know who to turn to," Lines for Life CEO Dwight Holton added. "Data shows that warmlines help people who feel isolated or overwhelmed get back to their lives and reduce the need for emergency services."
OHA also expanded its Safe + Strong education and outreach campaign to include behavioral health resources. Resources in 12 languages aim to reach communities most impacted by health disparities. A behavioral health page offers mental and emotional support information, resources, and guidance about how to speak with struggling loved ones.