Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett tweets phone number, says anyone 'overwhelmed or scared' by coronavirus can call him

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A congressional lawmaker from Tennessee is encouraging anyone "overwhelmed or scared" of the coronavirus to give him a call to talk about it.

Freshman Rep. Tim Burchett, a Republican, tweeted his phone number along with a video message saying nine people in and around his congressional district have taken their lives amid the pandemic.

"If you feel like you're going to hurt yourself or maybe hurt somebody around you, why don't you all just call me and let's talk," he said. "I don't even need to know your name. You don't even have to live in my congressional district. Please, I would appreciate that call."

Burchett said he's willing to direct people where to go for help if he can't provide assistance.

"If I can't help you, I'll get you to somebody who can," he said. "If you have a question, dealing with your disability or anything else you're dealing with, congressional stuff, just call our Knoxville office, and we'll try to keep this line free. Together we're going to get through this folks, just hang in there.”

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said in a weekly update that more people died from suicide last week than the virus, The Tennessee Star reported. The county regional forensic center said they had nine suspected suicides in a 48-hour period.

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"How can we respond to COVID-19 in a way that keeps our economy intact, keeps people employed, and empowers our people with a feeling of hope and optimism, not desperation and despair?” Jacobs asked the newspaper.