Federal COVID-19 funds for mental health assistance need to be released now, Schumer says


NEW YORK (WPIX) — The federal COVID-19 relief bill approved in March set aside $5 billion for mental health assistance, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says that funding needs to be released now.

The New York Democrat said on Sunday that Americans — and the mental health providers they rely on — need help to combat the silent but devastating effects of the pandemic.

A study published in January on the psychological impact of COVID-19 and restrictive measures to mitigate its spread found that more than half of those who participated had higher than average levels of stress, depression and/or anxiety. 

Even as more Americans are vaccinated against the virus every day, a return to some pre-pandemic behaviors in a post-pandemic world can bring about its own triggers.

Schumer said timely access to mental health care is critical to combating pandemic-related stress and other serious conditions. 

In releasing the federal funding, New York would benefit from a surge in mental health support programs and increased access to a variety of care options, according to the lawmaker.

If you or someone you know are struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts, click here for resources.

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