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LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansans dealing with anxiety or other mental health struggles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic can get free crisis counseling through a new grant funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"This pandemic is unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetimes. For many people, it has resulted in anxiety, fear, stress, and literal isolation. All of those things can contribute to a mental health crisis," Tammy Alexander, assistant director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services, which is administering the grant, said in a news release.

The Promoting Positive Emotions program provides free education and confidential crisis counseling for individuals and families impacted by the current pandemic, the release said.

"Crisis counseling encourages people to talk about their experiences and concerns in the process of teaching healthy ways to manage stress. Crisis counselors do not label or diagnose people, but they do work with the individual or family to identify needs and assist in connecting them with community resources," it said.

"Some individuals may not want to seek help because they are embarrassed or can't afford it. That's why the Promoting Positive Emotions program is free and confidential," Alexander said.

The Promoting Positive Emotions program provides free confidential crisis counseling as well as "useful information and resources," but it does not cover traditional mental health diagnosis or treatment, psychiatric services, medication, or assistance for food, child care, or financial support.

Call the DHS Mental Health & Addiction Support Line at 844-763-0198 for more information. For information about child care, food, or financial assistance during COVID-19, visit http://www.humanservices.arkansas.gov/resources/response-covid-19.

For free crisis counseling through the Promoting Positive Emotions program, call the Crisis Support Line at 833-993-2382, or visit the website at http://www.staypositivearkansas.com.

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