Houston residents struggling with poor mental health due to the coronavirus pandemic can call a new mental health hotline developed specifically in response to the virus.

Mayor Sylvester Turner and U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Houston, announced the new phone line Sept. 29. It began operating Oct. 1.

"The stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is felt by millions of Houstonians every day,” said Stephen L. Williams, director of the Houston Health Department. “These services are available to anyone but focus on parents and guardians of school-age children, childcare providers, teachers and city of Houston staff on the front lines of the pandemic.”

The hotline is staffed by mental health professionals from the Houston Health Department and is funded with $340,000 from Houston’s allocation of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds.

In addition to the helpline, the health department is offering virtual support groups and educational resources with a focus on the neighborhoods most severely affected by the virus, according to a news release.

For mental health assistance, call the hotline at 713-999-9442. It will accept calls from 1-11 p.m. seven days a week until Dec. 24.