Illinois offers service to provide mental health care via texting

Illinois state officials have created a service that lets Illinoisans seek mental health, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The service, called “Call4Calm,” will let users text “TALK” to the number 552020 and connect with a mental health professional in the user’s area. All the user must provide is their first name and zip code. The user remains anonymous to the mental health professional. The service is free of charge.

For Spanish speakers, users can text “HABLAR” to the aforementioned number to get a Spanish speaking mental health professional.

“We recognized that so many people are struggling right now,” Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton said. “They may need some emotional support, and this is just one of the ways that you can be connected to someone.”

Users can also text specific keywords, such as “UNEMPLOYMENT”, “FOOD” and “SHELTER” to the number in order to get more information and guidance on what they can do about that issue.

“We are all in this together,” Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton said.

Jose Zepeda

Jose Zepeda is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is now on his third year with Good Morning Illini, previously serving as director, reporter and crew member. He is also currently a digital intern for WILL, the NPR- and PBS- affiliate in Urbana and vice-president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists University of Illinois chapter. He also has his own podcast with fellow GMI-er Angelle Cortes called Just Chillin’. He brings previous experience as a features intern at The News-Gazette and as a daytime news editor at The Daily Illini. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JoseZepedaTV.