With all the numbers being presented to the public, some call centers are being overwhelmed.
United Way was the first to express concerns of overflow of their system. As of Monday, the 211 line was experiencing hour-long wait times.
According to the United Way, 211 is for resources to help those struggling with needs such as food or unemployment. They suggest all medical questions go to the Fort Smith Hotline at (479) 289-6508 that is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
By calling the hotline, people can have their questions about the virus or testing answered as well as have the option to be pre-screened.
In order to get tested in Fort Smith, residents must be screened in order to be tested and therefore must go through the Fort Smith Hotline and not through 211.
The Disaster Distress Helpline provides immediate counseling to anyone seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic. This helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is a free resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling and support in dealing with the traumatic effects of a natural or human-caused disaster. It is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Helpline specialists are trained to assist callers who have a range of symptoms.
“People who have been through a traumatic event can experience anxiety, worry or insomnia,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the head of SAMHSA. “People seeking emotional help during an ongoing disaster such as a pandemic can call ... or can text."
The helpline immediately connects callers to trained professionals from the closest crisis counseling centers in the nationwide network of centers. Staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services. More on the helpline is at www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov.
The following is a list of various hotlines available:
Fort Smith Hotline:
2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211
ADH Coronavirus Hotline:
Concerns Regarding Children:
Disaster Distress Helpline:
1-800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746