As Bostonians continue to practice physical distancing and social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, rising concern around mental health issues being exacerbated by the current situation have been noted by many experts.
During their weekly City Council meeting, Councilor Andrea Campbell (District 4) addressed the need to prioritize mental health in the public health response to the coronavirus and urged the City of Boston to create a mental health support fund.
As daily counts of rising COVID-19 cases and death tolls continue to make headlines, residents who were already impacted by challenges in access to mental health care are at risk of developing worsening symptoms. Those who live alone, have recently lost jobs, or have loved ones who are sick are struggling to manage their mental wellbeing. Accessibility to mental health resources has become increasingly more difficult as the City continues to enact protocols that leave residents unable or unsure of how to address their mental health concerns.
“When we think about recovery from this pandemic and how to heal our communities, I think we must do so through a mental health lens,” said Councilor Campbell on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), those on the frontline of this pandemic such as healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers are likely to feel increased levels of stress and anxiety. In order for these workers to adequately fulfill their roles, their mental wellbeing must be prioritized.
According to a poll published by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 45% of Americans have reported that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health.
Councilor Campbell urged City officials to acknowledge the increasing need for mental health support access during and after this crisis by establishing a fund to address the mental wellness of those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund could be utilized to extend mental health providers’ capacity to offer in-person and online resources for those in need. It would also assist in coverage for those whose insurance does not fully cover mental health services.
For those in need of mental health support, the following links provide helpful resources:
Massachusetts Department of Mental Health: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/maintaining-emotional-health-well-being-during-the-covid-19-outbreak
Emergency Services Program/ Mobile Crisis Intervention: https://www.mass.gov/emergencycrisis-services