Houston launches mental health initiative to help Houstonians dealing with COVID-19 crisis

Houston Health Department is launching a new mental health initiative to help Houstonians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and the department announced Tuesday.

Let’s Beat COVID-19: Health Education, and Support Services, also referred to as HESS, includes a helpline and other resources "to help people adjust mentally and emotionally," the department said in a statement.

The mental health helpline launches October 1 and is open every day from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. through December 24.

If you're interested in talking with a trained mental health professional who will provide appropriate intervention and follow-up, you can call 713-999-9442.

The program will also offer virtual support groups, toolkits, trainings, and other resources to support people’s mental and emotional needs.

The program, supported by $340,326 of CARES Act funding, will focus on high positivity zip codes, parents dealing with virtual learning stressors, and city staff working on the frontlines of COVID-19.