Published: Oct 07, 2010 3:44 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 07, 2010 12:44 PM EDT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A toll-free helpline has been set up for people who need help from behavioral healthcare professionals in the wake of the BP oil spill.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set up the oil spill distress line, using BP funds. The number to call is: 1-800-985-5990.

HHS says callers will be linked to a crisis center.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in Wednesday's announcement that people on the Gulf Coast are feeling stress and that "if behavioral health conditions are left untreated, we can expect that the situations these individuals and their families are living in will worsen."