SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) to permanently establish the Call4Calm text line to support Illinois residents' mental health needs was approved by the Senate, falling in line with Mental Health Awareness Month.

“Call4Calm was a great initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic, and can still benefit those who struggle with their mental health even after this pandemic is over,” Van Pelt said. “Mental health outcomes are more concerning than ever before due to the public health crisis, and this text line is an essential outlet.”

House Bill 1805 requires the Department of Human Services to permanently establish the Call4Calm text line, which would be free of charge and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Call4Calm was launched as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a remote patient monitoring program and support line available to anyone in the state.

Once a person sends a text to the hotline, they will receive a call from a counselor employed by a local community mental health center to provide support within 24 hours.

Anyone struggling with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic in need of emotional support can text TALK to 552020 (or HABLAR for Spanish). People can also text key words such as “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” and will receive information on how navigate and access supports and services.

“Anyone who has been struggling with their mental health before or during the pandemic should not be afraid to ask for help,” Van Pelt said. “Thanks to this initiative, help is just one text away.”

House Bill 1805 has passed both chambers.