Hotline offers counseling and resources to cope with ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – A new crisis counseling assistance program will provide support to people experiencing challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Kū Makani – The Hawai’i Resiliency Project” offers counseling, education and resource navigation while promoting healthy ways to cope.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone in the islands, from keiki to kūpuna,” Amy Curtis, Adult Mental Health Division Administrator, said in a news release on Friday. “We are pleased to be able to provide yet another resource to help those of us who need some extra support right now.”

Residents can access Kū Makani by calling 1-800-753-6879 and selecting option #1. Available times to call are between 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends. Kū Makani will also be available on state holidays.

Services are available to everyone, including children. Trained crisis counselors are located on each major island with staff bilingual in Ilokano, Spanish, Hawaiian, Tongan, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Japanese, Palauan and Samoan.

“It is normal to experience difficulty with adapting to the new challenges of managing work, school, family, or home due to COVID-19, to feel isolated or anxious, or to worry about meeting basic needs like having enough food or access to healthcare,” said Kathleen Merriam, Team Leader for Kū Makani. “If you or someone you love needs support, don’t be afraid to reach out.”

Kū Makani was launched by the Hawaii Department of Health and CARE Hawaii, made possible by a $2.1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

For general crisis support services not specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, including mental health resources, substance use treatment services, or help with isolation and quarantine, call Hawaii CARES 24 hours a day, 7 days per week at 1-800-753-6879 or text ‘ALOHA’ to 741741.

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