"Parents can call when they’re overwhelmed or stressed out. There are people trained to make referrals to all sorts of services," Mateer said. "The really important part is to get people the help they need before a child would become our client.
Children who are victims of abuse or neglect often suffer from declining mental health, Mateer said, especially when they can’t access in-person resources and support.
“One of the issues that falls under abuse and neglect are children with mental issues whose parents can’t meet their needs and aren’t getting them the help they need,” Mateer said.
Bay Area Social Service Hotlines
Safe and Sound: A child abuse prevention program providing 24-hour support to parents and families: 415-441-5437.
Family Paths: A stress helpline for parents in need of support: 1-800-829-3777.
Crisis Support Services of Alameda County: To support children suffering from mental health issues and who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts: 1-800-309-2131. There is also a national hotline: 1-800-273-8255.
STAND! For Families Free of Violence: A 24-hour, toll-free crisis line: 1-888-215-5555.
First 5 San Francisco Family Resource Centers: A network of 26 sites around San Francisco that offer parental support, information and referrals. Many services can currently be access online or by phone, and some sites are offering food and diaper security during the pandemic.