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'You don't have to feel at all alone' | Mental health support hotline available in Illinois

"Living in the midst of a global pandemic and a time of crisis, it’s a natural healthy response to experience sadness and anxiety," a psychologist said.

ILLINOIS, USA — Emotional support at the edge of your fingertips. That's the plan for a new support line in Illinois called 'Call for Calm'.

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a free emotional-support text line is available for Illinoisans experiencing stress from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How it works

To speak anonymously, text "talk" to 552020 and a counselor from a local community mental health center will call you within 24 hours. For Spanish, text "hablar".

You can also receive other helpful resources by texting the number with keywords such as "unemployment," "food" and "shelter."

RELATED: Illinois Gov. Pritzker launches mental health support hotline, remote patient monitoring program

"It's OK to feel and please know that you don't have to feel at all alone, I want you to know that we are here to help," Governor Pritzker adds. 

It's not a crisis hotline, but it's a way to help you. He says, "Let them be a listening ear for the challenges you are experiencing."

RELATED: 3 steps to help you mentally cope with COVID-19 pandemic

Washington University professor and Psychologist Dr. Tim Bono teaches the science of happiness and believes this over-the-phone guidance can be useful.

"Living in the midst of a global pandemic and a time of crisis, it’s a natural healthy response to experience sadness and anxiety," Dr. Bono said. 

He explains that putting your emotions into language can allow someone else to help you see things in a new perspective. 

"I think that’s what this hotline will do for people and why it’s so valuable," he said.

Even sending that text, Dr. Bono said, can put you at ease. 

"Knowing that someone with expertise will be responding," he said. "That itself provides some sort of comfort level and safety net."

Right now, it may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. But a tool like this can make things feel a bit lighter.

"What are the emotions that I have right now that I’m concerned about. Taking advantage of a resource that will allow you to process that is a sign of psychological health and strength," Dr. Bono said.