New Georgia App Helps Teens Struggling With Mental Illness

Feb 14, 2019

Georgia has a new tool to help those suffering from mental health issues.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced an app to go along with the Georgia Crisis and Access Line or GCAL. The hotline, which launched in 2006, receives almost 1,000 calls each day. Now, the state is adding a GCAL app.

“We need these kids to know that it’s not bad to text somebody if you need something, or you need help,” said Kemp during a press conference announcing the app.

The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities who oversees the hotline, and created the app.

“On Valentine’s Day, consider that the best gift that you can give to a loved one is to download the My GCAL app or to let people know or to let them know the Crisis Line number 1-800-715-4225,” said Judy Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities. 

The GCAL app is free, confidential and easy to use because with a click it opens a text, provides a phone number, or offers the chance to chat live with someone about mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, eating disorders and self-harm.

“The goal of the app is to open up more points of access, making easier at that courageous moment when the person decides, I think I need help, or I’m struggling, or I see a friend I’m concerned about,” Fitzgerald said. “When you do (use the app), there is a caring, licensed professional to talk with you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

The app meets teens where they connect most — on their phones through texting. 

“Marty (Kemp) and I know as parents of three teenagers,” Kemp said. “I’ll tell Marty all the time our daughters are texting us and they’re upstairs, but that’s just the world that we’re living in. So, we’ve got to give them the tools to deal with that.”

The My GCAL app is available for download on Apple and Android phones.