At the start of the pandemic, the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce launched a hotline for business owners to answer questions and provide support.
“The confusion and the need for information was so critical, so we set up a series of tools, one of them being a hotline,” said Amanda Blackwood, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.
But the focus of that hotline quickly shifted. While people called for business guidance, assistance with the Paycheck Protection Program and other resources, some calls were a cry for help.
“There were folks that were reaching out for human connection, for a warm voice at the end of the line to tell them that everything was going to be okay,” Blackwood explained.
The need to address mental health concerns prompted chamber leadership to make connections to help their community. And chamber staff answered the call. Staff were trained by mental health experts in trauma response and suicide prevention. It’s just one example of how chambers can make community impact. The hotline has received thousands of calls and over 900 calls so far in 2021. It will continue as long as it remains useful, Blackwood noted, adding, “Mental health is undeniably a business issue.”
Read more from ACCE here.