Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Charlotte, NC – In these uncertain and trying economic times, more
and more of us are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression and
feelings of hopelessness. Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health,
Substance Abuse and Developmental Disabilities Services, has seen a
record number of inquiries -- a 25% increase in call volume -- over
the last few months requesting mental health, substance abuse and
developmental disability services.

To meet the ever-growing concerns around the impact of skyrocketing
jobless rates and the economic crisis, Area Mental Health would like
to remind citizens that it is important to reach out and ask for help
when stress, anxiety, depression and alcohol and substance abuse
become emotional and behavioral challenges.

MeckLINK is Mecklenburg County's central call center for mental
health, substance abuse, and developmental disability service
referrals. MeckLINK will assess immediate needs and refer individuals
to local providers that can help. Citizens can contact MeckLINK at
704-336-6404. Additionally, Area Mental Health contracts with a Mobile
Crisis Team that can be dispatched to wherever mental health crises
occur in the community. The Mecklenburg County Mobile Crisis Team
phone number is 704-566-3410.

Area Mental Health Deputy Director Carlos Hernandez says the signs and
symptoms of anxiety and depression (the most common reactions to
stress) are often intermixed. "Often, while looking for emotional
equilibrium, people will look for relief in the wrong places:
overindulgence of alcohol, other substances and other high risk
behaviors," Hernandez says.

Overall, emotional reactions to high levels of stress can be intense,
frightening and debilitating. It is important at moments like these
to seek professional assistance.

Don't wait another day hoping that you or someone you love will simply
"snap out of it."

Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health manages the public mental health
system in Mecklenburg County which includes screening, assessing, and
referring consumers to appropriate service providers in the community.
For help and information, the public can contact the Area Mental
Health call center, MeckLINK, at 704-336-6404 or visit Referrals made in English and Spanish.