Mental Health Resources During COVID-19 | Carson Tahoe Health

What happens when you call the local NAMI Warmline?

By Amy Hyne-Sutherland

This has been one wild year for our family. Though luckier than most, the pandemic still wreaked havoc on our own little slice of life in so many ways. With two working parents, we suddenly found ourselves without childcare for months. The political landscape has made us nervous for our children’s future and that of our community. Our friends and family, scattered across the U.S., have seen heartbreak through lost loved ones, loss of jobs, and increased isolation. Never before have I been so stressed, anxious, even depressed and hopeless. Because I work at a health system, I know there are resources out there, both nationally and in our own community. But are they for me? I’m not in crisis. Or, am I? Is that where I am headed? Is this what that feels like? A million questions go round and round. I decided to answer my own questions by trying out the NAMI warmline.

The answer, I discovered, is YES. There is a resource for people experiencing any kind of mental health issue, for the first time or the 100th. It’s called the NAMI warmline. The Western Nevada chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides a stigma-free, non-crisis phone service that you can call or text. The staff are local trained peers, not licensed counselors, and they are there to talk to you and support you.

When I called, I let the wonderful person with whom I spoke know that my call was part research project, part call for help. Am I wasting a precious resource by taking her time? No, I was not, she assured me. By the end of the twenty minute (no-cost) conversation, I was crying and sharing more than I had expected. But it felt good. I was relieved to know that I could call again the next day, if I wanted to. I was relieved to know I could share this resource with friends and family. I was relieved to know that I am not alone.

The peer I talked to shared that you do not need to be diagnosed with a mental illness to use this line, but it is for folks who live with mental illness diagnoses, too. It is for everyone. She shared that most people just want someone to talk with. The peers have all been through their own struggles with mental illness. They know what local resources are available. They understand that the folks on the other end of the line need to be seen, heard, and loved. Recently, they have had many calls from stressed parents, and also from seniors who are more isolated than ever. They have staffed up. They are available to you.

Other resources available:

  • Crisis Support Services of Nevada: (800) 273-8255, or Text “CARE” to 839863
  • Nevada Crisis Intervention Team *In addition to resources for the general public, this site links to mental health resources specifically for first responders, including medical professionals