Yet another unintended consequence of COVID-19 induced shutdowns is being felt across the country. Many states are experiencing a mental health crisis, with rising rates of suicide and overdoses. It’s no wonder that the prolonged pandemic is taking a toll on mental health; the mainstream media has been engaged in unrelenting fearmongering as affected Americans are suffering from unemployment, boredom, and isolation.
As President Trump said:
“At a time when many Americans are experiencing increased stress, anxiety, and personal loss, we must also ensure that our country can meet the mental health needs of those struggling in this crisis.”
Subsequently, the President signed an “Executive Order on Saving Lives Through Increased Support For Mental and Behavioral-Health Needs” on Monday, October 5th. The executive order combats the COVID-19 mental health crisis by establishing a cabinet-level Coronavirus Mental Health Working Group tasked with assessing “…the mental health needs of the most vulnerable, including the elderly, minorities, children, veterans, and people with disabilities.” Further, the Working Group will create a plan of action to improve the coordination and effectiveness of different groups and entities assisting individuals in crisis. Lastly, the Executive Order also encourages grantees of mental health federal funds to adopt “…policies, where appropriate, that have been shown to improve mental health and reduce suicide risk…” These improvements include telehealth, therapy, support groups, and outreach.
Both federal and state lawmakers must consider the mental health side effects of the Coronavirus when rulemaking. This past weekend, California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, announced that restaurant-goers must wear their mask between bites. This policy is ridiculous and only seeks to further the anxiety and fear surrounding the Coronavirus. With the continuation of policies like this, there will be no economy left because no one will leave their house! There’s simply more at stake than reducing the number of COVID-19 cases. We need sound policies that encourage wise and responsible behavior, not politically-motivated government overreach that stifles our economy and mocks all sound safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For more information on the opioid crisis click here.
This Executive Order adds to the significant work the Trump Administration has taken to combat the opioid epidemic.