Sen. Roxanne Persaud discusses mental health, wellness at town hall meeting

Senator Roxanne Persaud and other participants during a virtual townhall on mental health and wellness.

Mental Health and Wellness, was the focus on Monday, June 8, at a virtual town hall discussion, hosted on Facebook Live by the office of Senator Roxanne Persaud, and joined by community leaders who outlined ways to access information to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Persaud (D), who represents parts of Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Ocean Hill and Starrett City in District 19, Brooklyn, spoke of the importance of enlightening and sharing information pertaining to mental health and wellness, to those who feel hopeless.

“It is okay, when you feel like you are not okay. We all have anxiety,” she said, and urged the community to seek help by reaching out to healthcare organizations.

Asst. Commissioner, Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, Myla Harrison MD MPH NYC, in a slide presentation, shared that her office is closely monitoring indicators to remain aware of the behavioral health impact of COVID-19 and needs of New Yorkers.

The program will provide support, screening and detection for behavioral health challenges to meet these needs now and in the future.

“NYC Well” staff is available 24/7 and can provide brief counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages. For support, call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355), text “WELL” to 65173 or chat at nyc.gov/nycwell.

NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline could be reached at 844-863-9314 from 8 am to 10 pm, seven days a week. The helpline is staffed with specially trained volunteer professionals who are there to listen, support and offer referrals if needed.

Clinical Social Worker of the Red Cross, Tara Hughes highlighted the work of her organization to help people who feel isolated and stressed, and shared information pertinent to employment and rent assistance that can be accessed via nyc.gov/helpnow. For food assistance, visit nyc.gov/getfood.

“If you have a change in income, you may be eligible for food assistance (SNAP), financial assistance and / or health insurance (Medicaid) at access.nyc.gov.  Free financial counseling is available at nyc.gov/talkmoney.

The hours-long meeting also brought together Assembly Member Jaime Williams, Council Member Alan Maisel, Rev. Timothy P. Taylor Sr. of Hebron Baptist Church, and Dr. Cheryl Barker from Consuming Fire Ministries Intl. Inc. who applauded Sen. Persaud for providing a platform to address the important topic of Mental Health and Wellness.

They all agree that the situation is unprecedented, with a spectrum of issues like lost of faith in their spiritual belief, death, food insecurity, job loss, and racism, that give rise to disparities in hospitalization and death, due to COVID-19, daily stressors, that need mental health intervention.

Starting on Saturday, June 13 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm on Facebook Live Senator Roxanne Persaud, will be hosting “Story Time: Peach Has Questions,” in partnership with children’s author Kamla Millwood to help children navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Millwood, author of the popular children’s book series, “Peach the Duck,” will read and talk to children on current events, promoting equality and social justice.

#SD19 Peach TheDuck FanPage

To learn more, and access all services, go to https://www.nysenate.gov/senators/roxanne-j-persaud for Senate District 19 Coronavirus Resource Guide, and https://www.facebook.com/SD19SenatorPersaud/.

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