Mental health issues, substance use, and stress are all on the rise in cities throughout the country. As COVID-19 and the racism pandemics have impacted lives in so many ways, associated implications are everywhere. From job loss and fear for loved ones working on the front lines to parents stretched to juggle work and children at home, isolation continues to keep friends and family apart – as well as trauma affecting so many of our communities related to long-standing disparities. As a result, people are experiencing higher rates of mental health issues and not knowing where to turn.

Local government leaders can support important connections to care and assist residents in addressing their own well-being during these challenging times. In this interactive tele-town hall, community leaders and mental health experts will examine the psychological impact associated with collective trauma and despair. This webinar featured ways government leaders can talk publicly about the mental health toll and burden related to the coronavirus and racism pandemics. Speakers shared ways to harness community resources to address low-level distress and acute mental health conditions. Expert panelists provided science-backed strategies to encourage a public health approach to mental health, with a focus on addressing stigma, impacts on vulnerable communities, and ways to advance equity. 


  • Arthur C. Evans, PhD, CEO, American Psychological Association and former commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services.
  • Melody Woosley, Director, Department of Human Services, City of San Antonio 
  • Ron Manderscheid, Executive Director, National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors 


  • Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities