Giving Compass' Take:

• Crisis Text Line and Kids Help Phone have collaborated on a project called For the Frontlines that offers mental health support for frontline workers that struggle to maintain their mental health right now. 

• How can donors support or expand this program? What other mental health services are necessary for frontline workers during COVID-19? 

• Learn why doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients are struggling with anxiety and depression. 

Health care professionals and essential workers are braving the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic — but that invaluable work can come with cost and compromise to their mental health.

That is why Crisis Text Line and Kids Help Phone have teamed up to launch a new campaign called For The Frontlines. The text line is a fast, free, around the clock resource for frontline workers struggling with anxiety, stress, fear, and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The text line comes in response to a drastic increase in outreach to crisis lines. According to a statement sent to Global Citizen, in March alone, outreach to the Crisis Text Line from essential and frontline workers multiplied by four times. And as positive cases and fatalities climbed, calls about distress and grief rose in tandem.

More than 6,000 volunteers are working the lines of For The Frontlines — 17% of whom work in medicine and health care themselves, hoping to help their own.

An overwhelming majority of texters, 78%, are expressing intense anxiety, according to data shared with Global Citizen. Feeding into that anxiety are increasing physiological worries, with “symptom,” “fever,” and “cough” among the top words used by texters.

Another growing anxiety is financial strain, and while the virus has had economic fallout in every financial bracket, roughly half of all texters in crisis are from low-income households. With rent still due and bills looming, that financial noise is magnified, with the words “furloughed,” “landlord,” and “laid off” as common threads among callers.

Among those calling in emotional distress, another troubling trend has emerged: outreach from Asian-Americans has doubled, citing bullying, harassment, and depression related to the virus.

Read the full article about crisis text line by Meg Black at Global Citizen.