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Image from South Carolina Department of Mental Health website.

COVID-19 has led to a greater need for mental health services for those struggling with the challenges the pandemic has created. As the need for the services continues to grow inside and outside of English-speaking communities, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services have added a toll-free number for Spanish speakers. The line comes as an expansion to the SC-HOPES support line initiative.

“Times are difficult for everyone right now, and feeling stressed or uncertain is completely normal,” said SCDMH Mental Health Counselor and Tu Apoyo Supervisor Gianella Quiñones, “But there are steps we can take to address these feelings. Our community is incredibly resilient, but we all need support sometimes to remain strong. We created this line to ensure that Latinx families can easily connect with resources that will meet their specific needs and get support without having to worry about language fluency.”

The Tu Apoyo, or “Your Support” line will be available from 9:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays. Callers will not need to provide and identifying information to speak with a support line staffer.

SCDMH and the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services launched SC-HOPES in June to provide support to anyone experiencing new or worsening mental health or addiction concerns due to COVID-19 or any other reason. SC-HOPES provides callers with general guidance, information about resources for specific needs and referrals to providers for counseling and treatment needs.

Tu Apoyo staffers are trained specialists who are prepared to listen and help people in need to find services and resources to address their individual concerns. Personal information is not collected from callers because the line is an informational and non-clinical emotional support resource.

SCDMH serves approximately 100,000 people per year, 30,000 of whom are children and adolescents. As South Carolina’s public mental health system, SCDMH provides outpatient mental health services through a network of 16 community mental health centers and associated clinics, serving all 46 counties and psychiatric hospital services via three state hospitals, including one for substance use treatment. In addition to mental health services, SCDMH provides long-term care in one community nursing care center and three state veterans’ nursing homes.

The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services is charged with ensuring the provision of quality services to prevent or reduce the negative consequences of substance use and addictions. To accomplish this, the department contracts with a network of service providers and recovery organizations, which includes a system of 32 public agencies that provide prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services in all 46 counties.

Those in need of the Tu Apoyo line should call (833) TU-APOYO (882-7696). Additional information is available at the SCDMH website.

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