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Call '**Ask': mental health emergency hotline launches for North Carolinians

You can now call "**Ask" to be connected with resources and support right away. The hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A new resource is available for North Carolinians struggling with their mental health.

You can now call "**Ask" to be connected with resources and support right away. The hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mental Health America says they're seeing a huge spike in people taking their online screenings.

 “Over half the people who screen are screening at levels of extremely severe anxiety," an MHA representative said.

Medical experts say n a mental health crisis, people tend to call 911. But they say now more than ever, that just might not be the best way to connect people with much-needed help.

It's leading hospitals and health groups to look for new ways to reach people struggling with their mental health.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, for example, just launched a mental health crisis hotline, **Ask, that will immediately connect callers with quick and appropriate assistance.

Their goal is to offer more resources for people struggling, to free up 911 lines, and to avoid unnecessary ER admissions.

 “We need 911 open for people who are having emergency physical health crises," said Dr. Wendy Welch, Chief Medical Officer for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

She says anyone can call the number to be connected to help, 24/7.

 “The emergency rooms right now need to be ready to serve people who may be in need of a ventilator or intubation," Dr. Welch said. "Let's say I'm someone with schizophrenia I'm having a psychotic episode, the last place I need to be is in an emergency department with folks who are experiencing COVID-19 and then get sick with that.”

NC DHHS also launched a non-crisis mental health line, #Help4NC, which will connect callers with non-emergency resources.

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