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Free initiative connects St. Louisans with mental health professionals virtually

Anyone in the St. Louis area can call 211 and press "1" to reach a counselor. The service is free and accessible 24/7.

ST. LOUIS — People experiencing anxiety, depression, or stress will have a new resource to seek help through a new behavioral health initiative in St. Louis.

Anyone in the St. Louis area can call 2-1-1 and press “1” to access a mental health professional. 

The service is free and fully staffed with trained counselors 24/7. Callers who need more in-depth help will be referred to a therapist.

This initiative comes from the St. Louis Mental Health Board and United Way.

“It's OK if you're not feeling like yourself it doesn't mean you're broken or damaged,” said Serena Muhammad of the St. Louis Mental Health Board. “You don't have to be afraid to seek out answers. We want people to call 211 to figure out how to feel better even as they are going through difficult times as we all are.”

The services can also be accessed by texting BHEARD to 31658.

The new initiative comes as many programs in St. Louis have stopped offering in-person services due to COVID-19. 

Across the country, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse rates have soared. Nearly half of American adults reported that their mental health has taken a hit over the past two months.

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