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U.S. lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on mental health.
Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota and Tim Kaine from Virginia exclusively told CNN that they are planning to introduce the Covid-19 Mental Health Research Act Tuesday afternoon. The legislation would send $ 100 million annually to the National Institute of Mental Health for five years to fund research into the mental health effects of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Democratic MP Paul Tonko and Republican MP John Katko, both from New York, will introduce the house version of the legislation, according to Klobuchar’s office.
“Health care workers have guided our communities through this crisis and many have experienced acute stress and anxiety,” Klobuchar said in a statement to CNN.
“Children, adolescents and seniors are also uniquely affected. To understand how we can best support them – and all Americans – during this difficult time, we need to assess the extent of this mental health crisis and take action to promote recovery take healing, “she said.
The bill would support research examining the effects of the pandemic on mental health, particularly for health care workers. Other resources would aid post-pandemic mental health response and suicide prevention.
Tonko said focusing on mental health will be part of “rebuilding America” after the pandemic, especially for medical professionals and rescue workers.
“Every day they show up for work they risk exposure to this deadly virus and an unimaginable emotional burden on us to keep our families and communities safe. We need to do more to support them and ensure they that we work to understand ourselves. ” the hidden costs they bear, “he said, adding that he is calling on his colleagues in the House and Senate to move forward with the legislation.
A study published in JAMA Psychiatry in February found that visits to the emergency room for mental health-related issues, suicide attempts, overdoses, intimate partner violence, and suspected child abuse during the pandemic were generally higher than last year in the same period last year.