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A University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences call center is offering help with mental health issues or stress related to the pandemic, according to a news release.

The AR-Connect center is available 24 hours per day and offers virtual video visits from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Its phone number is (501) 526-3563 or (800) 482-9921.

The center opened in May and offers services at no out-of-pocket cost to patients. Nurses screen callers and connect them with therapists if needed, according to the release.

It was created because of covid-19, and “has been very helpful for those dealing with the problems [the outbreak] has caused in their lives,” said Dr. G. Richard Smith, the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute director.

Arkansas ranks 35th among 50 states for its level of access to mental health care, a report from the Mental Health America advocacy group says.

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