A new weekend helpline offers help to Latinx struggling with the effects of the pandemic
(Woodburn, Ore.) The Oregon Latinx Leadership Network created a behavioral health crisis hotline for those experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, and grief caused by the pandemic. Bi-lingual behavioral health therapists will staff the hotline and are there to listen, provide coping skills, and offer support or further resources.
Covid-19 has affected many people's emotional and mental health, particularly Oregon's Latinx populations. Many have contracted COVID-19 at much higher rates than other Oregonians. Others are the essential workers who can't shelter in place or work from home, leaving them fearful of contracting or spreading COVID-19 to loved ones. Add to this the impact of social distancing and isolation on traditional cultural events and gatherings.
OLLN assembled a team of behavioral health professionals to staff the helpline. The confidential number is 503-454-6787 and is staffed on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. "The phone number is for anyone in our Latinx community who lives in the state of Oregon," says Victor Juarez, a clinical licensed LCSW and a therapist on OLLN's team. "We're here for the uninsured and undocumented people who are afraid to seek mental health services. People can call and leave a message any day and get a callback within 24 hours."
Juarez says OLLN therapists may provide chrome books and temporary Wi-Fi for web conferencing and telehealth to individuals or families who need follow-up therapy when they can't meet in person.
"The benefit of having bi-lingual therapists is that we understand that cultural competency is essential to reducing mental health disparities," says Juarez. "We are strongly committed to serving our Latinx community in the most accessible, confidential, and culturally sensitive manner as we navigate challenges precipitated by the pandemic. We want people to know we are here to serve them.”