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Mental Health Awareness Month has begun; L.A. County Officials Announce Virtual Mental Health Resources Available during Coronavirus Pandemic
By Betti Halsell
Published May 1, 2020

Friday, May 1. The Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center released new information surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. The public officials announced their initiative to cope with COVID-19 Quarantine. They are announcing the WE RISE program is now completely virtual and available during the pandemic. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Director of Public Health,  provided the most recent data behind the ethnicity relationship and fatal outcome of COVID-19. She also shared the latest news surrounding the positive cases in L.A. There is raising concern for those that are on the wrong side of the digital divide, who do not have access to the virtual world. There is much anticipation on what County Officials have in store for closing the technological gap in the post pandemic era.

Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director, Public Health (screenshot)

Ferrer shared the latest updates on the COVID-19 virus.  Ferrer shared that as of Friday, May 1, there were 62 additional deaths, 46 of these individuals were between the ages of 65 and over, 39 of them with underlining health conditions. Seven people who died were between the ages of 41-65, with preexisting health concerns. One person younger than 41 with no underlining health issues, also passed away. This brings the total COVID-19 related deaths in the L.A. County to 1,172.

Ferrer disclosed as of May 1, There are 1,065 new COVID-19 reports. In summary, there is a total amount of 24,215 coronavirus cases in the Los Angeles region.  92% of fatal cases have underlining health conditions, Ferrer stated, “As a reminder, if you have underlining health conditions, this includes asthma, COPD, cancer, or other conditions that can affect your immune system, please do your best to stay at home.” For the 1,069 fatal cases where race and ethnicity were identified; 13% were African American, 19% were Asian, 38% were LatinX, 29% were white, and 1% were identified as another ethnicity.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair, Fifth District (screenshot)

Chairwoman of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, Kathryn Barger stated, “…The mental health challenges, by far is something we need to talk about, and educate people about resources that are available.” May is recognized as the Mental Health Awareness Month, L.A. County wanted to make mental health resources available to everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic. WE RISE is a “Community capacity, building celebration of healing mental health and wellbeing powered by creative expression and connectedness.” In the third year of this program, it has been adjusted to be completely virtual. This will include performances from original artists, celebrities, and interactive workshops.

In addition to the adjustments made in the WE RISE program, there is free access to Headspace Plus. This is a “gold-standard virtual guide to meditation and mindfulness,” Los Angeles County residents can access a free subscription. These are great tools available to the Angelenos that have access to the internet and technological devices. However, there are L.A. residents that fall through the cracks of getting the help they need; they cannot afford internet access or have the devices needed to take advantage of the resources provided by the county. Curiosity surrounds what L.A. Public officials have in store to remedy that issue in the Post Pandemic Era.

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Categories: COVID-19 | Local
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