The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated mental health and well-being among Americans. City and county leaders will be on the front lines of the mental health crisis that began before COVID-19 and has been exacerbated by the grief, loneliness, and collective trauma incurred by the pandemic as well as ongoing racial injustice. But while this growing crisis is deep in magnitude, it is not surmountable — if we act now.
The de Beaumont Foundation and Well Being Trust today released an action guide for local leaders that emphasizes the urgency of addressing the growing mental health and addiction issues in their communities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Supporting a Nation in Crisis: Solutions for Local Leaders to Improve Mental Health and Well-Being During and Post-COVID-19” includes more than 60 evidence-based policies, practices, and programs that can prevent further loss of life and livelihood from the nation’s growing mental health crisis. The action steps are practical, many are low-cost or revenue-neutral, and include recommendations for both the immediate response to COVID-19 and the long-term recovery.
Tyler Norris, MDiv, president and CEO of Well Being Trust, said, “This guide is a call and resource for local leaders to be accountable for community outcomes around mental health and well-being. We need to shift from engaging in a collection of projects and initiatives, to implementing system changes, policy solutions and lasting investments that can save lives.”
Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, said, “It’s widely recognized that mental health and substance misuse challenges are rising, but many of these issues existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic. To developing lasting policy solutions, we need to go to the root of these problems and think beyond treatment.”
Immediate recommendations cover areas including:
Long-term recommendations can improve the vital community conditions for well-being. While many are not traditional mental health policies, they directly contribute to long-term promotion of health and well-being and prevention of disease and injury. These recommendations cover areas including:
To see all the recommendations and resources, visit www.debeaumont.org/mental-health-action-guide.