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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced the availability of a toll-free hotline for people in crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. By dialing 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), callers will be connected to a network of local crisis centers across the country that are committed to crisis counseling. Callers to the hotline will receive counseling from trained staff at the closest certified crisis center in the network.
We have all been touched by this tragedy, and profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions that many people may experience, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. We want people to know that we have a nationwide team of crisis counseling experts available to help people through their grief and loss.
The network is run by HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and involves more than 110 certified crisis centers. People who are in emotional distress or suicidal can call at any time from anywhere in the nation to talk to a trained worker who will listen to and assist callers in getting the mental health help they need. People will be provided with immediate access to local resources, referrals and expertise.