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Organizations say they have not seen an uptick in domestic violence, suicide calls amid COVID-19

Posted at 11:54 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 16:47:41-04

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Kern Behavioral Health and Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault have switched all their in-person services to virtual and Telehealth access, for those in need.

The organizations are continuing to partner with each other to address mental health needs and domestic violence issues during this pandemic

"Usually when a crisis hits numbers don't go up, but they dip a little bit because everyone is in shock," said Bill Walker, Director for Kern Behavioral Health. "Right now, our calls to our hotline have not drastically increased, but we do average up to 3,000 calls a month."

Kern Behavioral Health and Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, both share that neither has seen a large uptick in domestic violence or suicidal rates since the outbreak.

The organizations add there is a possibility in the future if the pandemic continues.

"What we are concerned with, is individuals who have not had a break in order to seek help," said Louis Gill, CEO of Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault."We are concerned that when the stay-at-home-order has lifted we will have more and more people seeking assistance because they have been a difficult situation."

Walker shares that they want to assist anyone that may find themselves in an unsafe situation.

Health professionals especially want essential workers to not only protect themselves physically when out in the field but also mentally.

"Maintaining structure is vital," Walker said. "[You need to] set up a schedule, wake up on time, and take care of yourself. It's about maintaining yourself and that sense of meaning and hope."

Both organizations have 24-hour hotlines for anyone needing to talk or for those in unsafe environments. The Kern Behavioral Health hotline is 1800-991-5272.

If you are a victim of domestic violence reach out to Alliance Against Family Violence & Sexual Assault at 661-327-1091.

"If you are in a violent relationship and you are still fortunate enough to have a support system develop a safe word with them," Gill said. "So, that if you call them and use that word in a sentence they know to immediately call law enforcement because you are in immediate danger. Also, if you need to have a to-go bag ready. "