The coronaviurs pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s mental health, with increased levels of stress and concern for the future.
The city of Chicago announced Thursday that it is stepping in to provide resources to those who need it.
The city is making a huge investment in mental health and putting more money and resources into getting people the help they need.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot recognizes the toll this is taking on Chicagoans and says she can relate.
“To state the obvious, this is an incredibly difficult time,” she said. “I feel the weight of this moment every day.”
Lightfoot talked about her own mental health as she addressed how the city is handling heightened levels of anxiety and depression.
“Normally when people ask me, my stock answer is, ‘Fine, under the circumstances,’” she said. “But the reality is there’s a lot of layers and nuisance.”
Chicago is investing $1.2 million in mental health support.
The mayor said the city will focus on three areas:
- Community-based treatment to connect residents to resources they need
- Telemedicine to provide services to people with limited access
- Self-care resources
“his is not embarrassing. This is not something we should not talk about,” Dr. Allison Arwady said. “This is not something that should have stigma around it. This is something that in fact, all of us to a degree are at risk for.”
Tony Amberg is a psychiatric nurse practioner at Northwestern Hospital.
He said he’s happy to hear the city is stepping in to help.
“I think one of the things that’s undeniable is that this is wearing on all of us,” he said.
He’s teamed up with COVID-19 healthcare workers to give them the support they need during this difficult time.
“I’ve been using a little bit of yoga and guided meditation to work with our troops and it’s something that they’ve found very useful,” he said.
It’s something we can all put into practice, he said. Meditation and breathing exercises allow us to unplug and reboot.
“The purpose of this is to bring us back to the present,” he said. “And in the present, in this moment, most of us are not in immediate danger. And that’s really important.”
But Amberg and health officials acknowledge the impact the pandemic has on our lives is different for every person. And that’s why the mayor said the support the city puts in place, is essential.
“The issues we’re addressing now didn’t start with COVID and they aren’t going to end with it either,” Lightfoot said.
The city launched a new website Windy City Wellness which compiles a list of self-care resources from wellness experts.