Tennessee Expands COVID-19 Mental Health Hotline to Teachers

Sue-Ann Siegel takes a call as she works a shift monitoring the Montgomery County Hotline from her home office, fielding calls including from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on March 18, 2020, in Chevy Chase, Md. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spike in calls to mental health and suicide prevention hotlines. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Tennessee officials have expanded a mental health hotline during COVID-19 times to extend support to teachers.

The state Department of Education says the hotline provides free and confidential support from trained volunteer mental health professionals to people experiencing increased anxiety and stress due to the pandemic.

Officials say the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services set up the hotline in May for for health care workers and first responders on the front lines of the pandemic. The department partnered with the the Mental Health Active Response Team, the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, and other Addictions Services and the Tennessee chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

With the expansion, educators are now eligible for the services as well.

The hotline is available at 888-642-7886 daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central time.