Coronavirus

New Yorkers are struggling with mental health issues

But the city and state have resources available for those in need.

COVID-19 is taking an emotional toll on New York City's residents.

COVID-19 is taking an emotional toll on New York City's residents. Robbi Jaffrey/Shutterstock

Dr. Lorna M. Breen, the medical director of NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital’s emergency department, located in Manhattan, died of suicide on Sunday.

It’s presumed that Breen’s death was the result of the heavy emotional toll that treating extremely ill COVID-19 patients had on her, The New York Times reported. “She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” Breen’s father, Dr. Philip C. Breen told the Times.

As the New York City area’s worst-in-the-nation coronavirus outbreak marches on, medical workers have spoken about the emotional hardships they’ve had to endure. They’ve witnessed their patients die in isolation, watched as other wings of their hospitals got converted into intensive care units and noticed body bags filled with coronavirus victims pile up. New Yorkers are confronting mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, even if they’re working on the front lines of the crisis. 

Most of the state’s residents, especially those in or near New York City, are now confined to their homes, have minimal interactions, if any, with other people. Some are facing serious economic struggles. Many have been furloughed, laid off or had their salaries cut. Numerous individuals have reported stressful experiences, such as difficulty filing for unemployment insurance on the state’s Department of Labor website. Loneliness is intensifying

Many have lost loved ones to the virus without the chance to say goodbye. Living through a pandemic and being stuck in isolation can result in numerous negative psychological effects, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, especially as lockdown measures drag on.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo remarked that an entire generation of New Yorkers will probably have PTSD after living through this pandemic. “The pressure that people are under is phenomenal. It is traumatic,” Cuomo said during an appearance on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show.” 

“This is traumatic. This is PTSD for an entire generation that will talk about this,” he continued.

People across the U.S. are suffering from anxiety and depression directly correlated to the coronavirus outbreak. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline, which is accessible to people all over the country, saw an 891% increase in call volume this March, compared to March 2019.

Experts have also indicated that individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse disorders, are more likely to have difficulty managing their conditions. And there are fears that psychiatric medicine will become less accessible as the country faces a drug shortage amid the pandemic. 

“The full impact of the pandemic on people managing mental disorders will only become clear with time, experts have said, and will likely vary widely by individual, depending on the severity of the distress, family support and resources,” the Times’ science reporter Benedict Carey writes.

On March 21, Cuomo asked mental health care professionals to volunteer to help the state launch a hotline for those dealing with mental health issues. Four days later, over 6,000 different mental health professionals signed up to work the hotline. 

“We talk about the economic consequences, but we also need to talk about the social consequences,” Cuomo said during a press conference on March 21. “But the stress, the anxiety, the emotions that are provoked by this crisis are truly significant, and people are struggling with the emotions as much as they are struggling with the economics.”

“They’re nervous, they’re anxious, they’re isolated. It can bring all sorts of emotions and feelings to the surface,” he added. “When you’re isolated you don’t have people to talk to.”

The state has also offered its residents other resources, such as free access to meditation apps. New York City also has a hotline – that gives individuals the option to text with trained professionals – for those struggling with their mental health, and has sent frequent updates about what mental health support is available to residents who have signed up for the city’s COVID-19 text alerts. These city and state resources are easy to access but it’s unclear how much they have helped individuals struggling at the moment. 

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.