Local mental health agency sees 129% increase in calls to crisis warm line


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Local mental health agencies have seen a big increase in the number of people utilizing their services during the pandemic. 

As many places shut down due to COVID-19, people were left having to find different ways to get help. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, officials say it’s important for people to know there are still resources out there, even if they look different than before.

East House’s Affinity Place, a short-term crisis residence, says they have seen a 129% increase in calls to their warm line service. 

“We receive anywhere from 15 to 20 calls per day for a variety of reasons. People could be in a heightened state of emotion or just trying to talk a situation through, or sometimes just part of a natural support, a day-to-day I just need to be connected with someone,” said Sabrina May, the Program Manager at East House’s Affinity Place. 

May says the pandemic hasn’t been easy on people, especially because of the isolation that’s come with it. 

“You figure you have those of us who live already isolated lives and sometimes the only contact we have is going to pros programs or going to out patient, those type of things. So once the pandemic hit and those things were taken off the table, people began to find new ways to connect to recover resources.”

The Affinity Place’s warming line has been a helpful resource to those at home. It runs 24/7 and people can call to speak to someone who may understand what they are going through. 

While things are starting to open up and more people are getting vaccinated, May said the pandemic will likely have a lingering impact on people and their mental health. 

“Dealing with the loses that have occurred during the pandemic, whether it be loss of life, loss of job, loss of homes, there’s been so many things the pandemic affected in a multitude of ways and you never know how that is going to affect someone’s illness or even wellness, because you do have to move forward and sometimes moving forward is the hardest part,” May said. 

May said it’s important people know they can always ask for help.

“Don’t do this alone. You don’t have to be alone,” May said. “It’s okay to honor what you feel and utilize your community resources, call 2-1-1 and see whats available. There are so many agencies in Rochester right now that are working together.”

Affinity Place is one of the many programs East House offers to help people who might be struggling with their mental health. It’s an 8-bed respite facility located at 269 Alexander Street and serves people in six counties, including Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Wayne and Wyoming. 

For more information about Affinity Place, you can call the registration line at 585-563-7083.

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