Students stuck at home taking online courses, pregnant women and couples grappling with a lack of childcare are all reaching out for help to vent their fears and frustration.
China’s National Health Commission said more than 300 hotlines have been set up by universities, local governments and mental health organisations.
But China has just 2.2 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.
Amid a severe shortage of trained professionals, the government has only been able to muster a team of 415 counselors to go to Hubei to serve an army of health workers and tens of thousands of patients.
Volunteers at several hotlines in Beijing and Shanghai told AFP that they were not given crisis intervention training, making them vulnerable to secondary trauma.
“Some volunteers cry after their session is over,” said Ming Yue, a trainee psychiatrist who volunteers with a nationwide hotline run by Beijing Normal University.
“They feel sad and overwhelmed.”
Xu the psychologist told AFP she does half an hour of meditation every day before starting work at the hospital.
“That’s how I cope,” she said.
“Otherwise, the emotional burden is too heavy.”