The de Beaumont Foundation and Well Being Trust have 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. 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. The report urges action now and over the long term to prevent further loss of life and livelihood from the decline in the nation’s mental health and well-being. 

Supporting a Nation in Crisis: Solutions for Local Leaders to Improve Mental Health and Well-Being During and Post-COVID-19 provides practical steps that policymakers and other local leaders can take to improve their communities mental health and well-being in both the immediate response to COVID-19 and the long-term recovery phase. Many recommendations are low-cost or revenue-neutral. 

Tyler Norris, MDiv, president and CEO of Well Being Trust, said, “This guide is a call to action 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: 

  • Reducing stigma about mental health 
  • Bolstering the local workforce to address mental health 
  • Supporting existing organizations providing mental health and substance misuse services 
  • Reducing stress, fear, and anxiety surrounding economic fallout from COVID-19 
  • Augmenting the social safety net 

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: 

  • Providing incentives to create safe, affordable housing 
  • Addressing employees safety needs and financial concerns 
  • Ensuring access to green space for all people 

The action guide also features recommendations to address the mental health challenges of populations who are uniquely impacted by COVID-19: 

  • Health professionals and first responders 
  • Youth and families 
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals reentering society 
  • Individuals with substance use disorders  
  • Older adults 
  • Victims of intimate partner violence, child abuse, and elder abuse 
  • People of color  
  • Undocumented immigrants 

Dowload the report to see the recommendations and 60 policies, programs, and practices.

Download a one-page summary of the recommendations.

View the report below. (Click “full screen” in the lower right corner.)

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