Virginia Tech establishes Warm Line to help with COVID and election stress

Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 6:25 PM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - At Virginia Tech, there is a new service for those who need someone to talk to.

Mental health professionals believe between the pandemic, the election and civil unrest, it all can be a lot.

Raphael and Emmanuel are freshman at Virginia Tech. They say lately, things have been stressful.

“Because everybody is kind of on edge,” said freshman Emmanuel Gebremariam.

“It has been kind of difficult because you have to balance your school work and still focus on all the things you have to worry about, along with worrying about the state of our country, and it kind of weighs down on you a little bit,” said freshman Raphael Esdebe.

Between the pandemic and elections, they say it has not been easy dealing with it all.

“But I’ve been just trying to be there for my friends and try to kind of find the peace in the flames,” said Gebremariam.

Another form of relief that is available is a new Warm Line set up to support those who need some extra support.

“What we do know is talking about things that are bothering us has a real helpful effect, even if we don’t get advice on what to do.”

Ellie Sturgis, the interim director for Cook Counseling Center, said dealing with the pandemic and elections can be mentally exhausting.

“Seeing the divisions of the country, seeing how divided we are that had added to it and then the uncertainty of this election. We are used to knowing the results of an election that night or the next morning at least. This is the third day and it is probably going to go on for a bit longer and I think people’s ability to cope with stress is just --- we are getting exhausted,” said Ellie Sturgis, the interim director for Cook Counseling Center.

Sturgis said since we don’t have the same support network we normally would because of the pandemic, she believes the warm line and talking to someone can help.

“They are available for whenever people feel that they have the feeling to talk to someone and they can be talking about whatever is of concern to them,” said Sturgis.

“People need someone to talk to especially during this pandemic, people are isolated, and so having somebody or like a service you can go to and be able to speak to people about how you feel, I think that is very necessary right now,” said Esdebe.

Mental health professionals say if you are not ready to use services like the warm line you can do things like exercise, eat healthy foods, and simply talk to a close friend or family member.

Sturgis adds the warm line isn’t just for the Virginia Tech community, it’s for anyone who needs it. You can reach the Warm Line by calling 877-349-6428.

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