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How to find free mental health counseling services in East Texas

To get in touch with a counselor free of charge, you can call 903-399-5202.

TYLER, Texas —

One of the devastating effects from the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation caused by it is the strain on people's mental health.

East Texas Community Healthcore is offering free counseling services to help students suffering from the mental aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're still seeing a number of students and the issues, you know, they're they're not going away," Next Step Program Director, Brandon Davidson said. 

Davidson says, during the summer, therapeutic sessions slows down. However, since COVID-19 hit, visits have been steady.

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"Students that have issues potentially with depression, anxiety, you know, being socially isolated, isn't going to help with those issues, in students that, you know, deal with family dysfunction, you know, after being home for 10 weeks," Davidson said. "Those issues can be more pronounced." 

Community Healthcore's Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program is funded through FEMA. The assistance is short-term and begins with four to five conversations over the phone. After that, those who need additional help can be referred for more assistance.

"Not only will there potentially be a second wave of COVID-19, but there's going to be increased need for mental health services," Davidson said.

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"We also can connect them with various community resources for if they’re lacking things, like if they’ve lost their job and they’re lacking income and they’re having a hard time with their bills," Kim Durham, the Program Manager for Intake and Aftercare at Community Healthcore, told the Marshall News Messenger. "We get them connected to places like that so that they can also find help in a very practical physical way.”

The National Alliance of Mental Illness in Tyler and Children's Advocacy Center of Smith County also offers free mental health resources.

"You know, there's, there's a lot of good resources out there. It takes a lot of people to do this work," Davidson said.