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New York is expanding its efforts to provide mental health services to frontline workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday. The services, which will be free of cost, are being offered in conjunction with Kate Spade New York Foundation and includes a 24/7 hotline available to workers.
“Too many people have said i would go for services, but I don’t want to pay the cost, I can’t afford it, I don’t want to take that money from my family – that’s gone,” Cuomo said. “There is no cost to get mental health services. Wipe that reason away and get the help that you need. It’s even in the best interest of your family.”
Additionally, Cuomo said that the state’s emotional support hotline would be available for all residents, at 1-844-863-9314.
“For all New Yorkers, the COVID-19 crisis can be a mental health crisis,” he said. “You are not alone. Nearly half of Americans say their mental health has been negatively impacted, don’t underestimate the stress of the situation it happens on a lot of levels.”
Cuomo said the stress of suddenly being confined to a home or apartment, and the stress of not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from, could also add to the anxiety. He said additional mental health resources are available at Headspace.com/ny.
“We will collectively learn and grow – this has been a very difficult, difficult situation for everyone – but when life knocks you on your rear, learn and grow,” Cuomo said.
The state’s initiative comes days after a top emergency room doctor at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital committed suicide after working on the frontlines.
According to Lorna Breen’s family members, she had contracted the disease and returned to treat patients but felt she couldn’t do enough to help. Her death followed that of EMT John Modello, who also committed suicide.
“Right now, doctors, nurses, EMS, firefighters, cops – everyone is in survival mode both for themselves and their patients,” Dr. Daniel Finch, director of psychiatric urgent-care services at CarePlus N.J., told the New York Post.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
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