Berkeley residents are very concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the community’s mental health.
A recent survey of 500 likely voters revealed that 56% of them said the greatest difficulty or challenge of the pandemic is mental health, according to a city report. About 35% of the respondents said they are most concerned about finances.
“Many have experienced the pandemic with a rise in feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety,” reads a Berkeley community message. “Others have seen their children struggling. Teens may need someone to talk to.”
The mental health impact may be greatest on the Black and Latino communities since they are coming down with COVID-19 at higher rates than the white and Asian communities.
The city is hosting a number of Zoom meetings, starting today, to ask residents what mental health services it should provide. The answers will help the city decide how to spend about $21 million it will get the state Mental Health Services Act over the next three years.
Currently, funds go to a broad range of programs, including prevention, early intervention, wellness and treatment services. They include mental health services, including walk-in hours, a mobile crisis team, which helps people suffering from mental health crises, and helping people who are experiencing homelessness to guide them into long-term supportive housing
Lake Research Partners conducted the survey for the Berkeley City Council from May 16-19. The results were presented to council June 2. [Featured photo by Nancy Rubin.]