Helpline serves front-line workers, families

By The Associated Press

CROWN POINT — A helpline has been set up to provide services for front-line workers and families in need in northwestern Indiana and the Chicago area during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Kalyani Gopal is a clinical psychologist and the president and founder of SAFE Coalition for Human Rights, a nonprofit that aims to protect the human dignity of trafficked persons, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported. Gopal said she thought about the helpline one day while she was leaving work.

“I was thinking to myself, we have all these amazing people in Northwest Indiana, all these organizations, they are all active and serving our population and doing great work, but they’re all working in silos,” she said. “So then I thought, ‘How about a helpline?’”

The Rapid Outreach Amplified Response Helpline Team includes SAFE Coalition, Greenleaf Consultants, Marram Healthcare, Continuum of Care, local food banks, Mid-America Psychological and Counseling Services, Mid-America Mental Health, seniors and volunteers.

Mental health professionals will provide screenings and referrals, clergy will provide spiritual support and health care workers will screen people for coronavirus symptoms and direct them to testing sites. Local food banks will inform people about assistance and volunteer opportunities, and housing experts will assist people with housing needs and homelessness placement, Gopal said.

Educators have volunteered to help parents and students with instruction troubleshooting or tutoring, Gopal said.

The main number for the helpline is 219-200-0003. Ring Central, a communications company, sponsored the helpline, Gopal noted. It is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

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