BALTIMORE — Baltimore City leaders on Friday introduced a new mental health recovery effort to combat the traumatic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Baltimore will not wait for the end of the pandemic to begin our mental health recovery” Mayor Jack Young said. “It is essential that we provide residents the resources to cope and recover during this critical time. We understand trauma is real in our city and we will address it head on, because that is the only way we can truly continue to build Baltimore.”
The new initiative aims to provide pathways for citizens to get treatment, along with opportunities to emotionally support others.
Councilman Zeke Cohen, who sponsored an earlier trauma-related care act, has been tapped to lead the effort.
“The mental health impact of the coronavirus has been devastating,” Councilman Cohen said. “Yet too often, mental health is not part of the conversations. As the City that passed the nation’s most far-reaching legislation on trauma, Baltimore must bring that same urgency and focus to healing in this moment.”
The initiative will include an ongoing webinar with a focus on healing through the arts, self-care, community healing, and other topics. It will work to map and connect institutions like hospitals, community organizations, religious institutions, and others to offer support for people in need.
Earlier this year, Young signed the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act into law in an attempt to prevent, reduce, and respond to trauma in Baltimore City.
City officials say the recent COVID-19 pandemic has caused physical devastation and a mental health crisis, which Johns Hopkins University Psychologist, Dr. George Everly, called a “hidden pandemic,”that can be 25 times more debilitating than the physical devastation.