FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - The projection from Dr. Anthony Fauci that we could be dealing with the pandemic through next summer or even into next fall is weighing heavy on a lot of shoulders tonight.
George Mason University’s Center for Psychological Services is trying to help. They are offering a free mental health hotline for any essential workers or people out of work because of COVID-19 across the entire D.C. region and beyond.
On Monday, FOX 5's Lauren DeMarco posted to Twitter to get a sense of how essential workers across the D.C. area are coping right now. The responses she received were heartbreaking.
Alexis is one of the healthcare workers on the frontlines at a drive-up testing site in D.C. currently dealing with the physical stress of standing in the cold for 8-hour shifts and the emotional stress of her personal life and work-life not meshing.
"It’s just like ugh that people don’t take it seriously and that takes a mental toll," she told FOX 5.
Meanwhile, Lisa Williams made six figures working for Marriott. but was laid off in March. She says she's more stressed for her two teenagers than herself as the three are now facing eviction next month.
"My son, the 13-year-old, was the one who got the notice off the door," Williams said.
Both women are happy to hear about George Mason’s brand new free Essential Workers Emotional Support hotline and say they will be calling in.
Dr. Robyn Mehlenbeck says the school’s Center for Psychological Services was seeing a major need in the DMV and decided to step up.
Call takers are trained volunteers and many of them graduate students. They will also try to connect anyone who lost their job due to covid to financial support and other services.
You can call the Essential Workers Emotional Support Line at 703-215-1898 from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Callers can remain anonymous.
Call takers are trained volunteers - many of them graduate students.
They will also try to connect anyone who lost their job due to the pandemic to financial support and other services.
That said, the Essential Workers Emotional Support Line is a resource to offer emotional health support, not financial support.
However, the GMU Center for Psychological Services is one of only a few mental health providers that offers services on a sliding scale of fees. “Anyone in the community is eligible for reduced-fee, sliding-scale fee services,” said Mehlenbeck. “With COVID, we’ve gone as low as five dollars for a therapy session. It’s that commitment to the community, and really making sure that we’re reaching people who couldn’t otherwise access services – it’s just such a strong part of our mission.”
If needed after the initial call, the center is also offering free therapy sessions.
The program is being funded by donations to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.