As the entire world continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19, my office and I are hard at work to put Floridians first, including the needs of workers, families, and small businesses. This week, our nation passed the somber milestone of 100,000 lives lost to COVID-19. While so many communities have been devastated, vulnerable communities and those with existing racial health inequities continue to be hit the hardest. We must also acknowledge that while this pandemic has paused so many aspects of our lives, the death of George Floyd this week, the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, along with many other reported and unreported deaths of unarmed people of color, serve as grim reminders that racism and police brutality continue to endure. As we join together in mourning the staggering number of loved ones we have lost, we must reflect and recommit to the urgent action needed to save lives, protect all members of our communities, and honor those we have lost with action.
Mental Health Awareness Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, it is important to acknowledge that this challenging time has left many of us, adults and children alike, with feelings of stress, anxiety, and even fear, but it has not erased the stigma associated with mental health. No one should feel alone. Nearly half of Americans report that this crisis is harming their mental health, while youth suicide and mental health issues have been increasing at alarming rates since 2001.
Remember that some of our neighbors are especially vulnerable during this pandemic, so if you or a loved one are experiencing mental health issues or a crisis, keep in mind that you are not alone, getting help is not a sign of weakness, and there are resources available to you, many of which I have listed below:
- The Disaster Distress Helpline can be reached at 1-800-985-5990, or by texting TalkWithUs to 66746
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 (TTY 1-800-787-3224).
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The Veterans Crisis Line is a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text messaging service for veterans and their loved ones seeking help. Dial 1-800-273-8255, text 838255, or start a confidential online chat session at veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat.
- Tips about daily life and coping with stress amid this pandemic can be found at the CDC’s website, Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19.
- Resources from the Department of Health and Human Services can be found at MentalHealth.gov.
- As always, if the situation is an emergency or potentially life-threatening, get immediate emergency assistance by calling 911, available 24 hours a day.
I will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 and share relevant information to make sure you and your family are prepared, so please make sure you are subscribed to my e-newsletter to receive these important updates. I have made some important changes to my Coronavirus Information page on my official website, which now includes three tabs on Resources, Legislative Responses and What I Am Working On. If you have any questions or concerns – from how to get your stimulus check to navigating your unemployment benefits – please do not hesitate to call my district offices in Tamarac at (954) 733-2800 or West Palm Beach at (561) 461-6767, as well as my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-1313.
With warm personal regards, I remain,
Sincerely, Alcee L. Hastings