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Biden says many Americans are feeling ‘down’ because of pandemic and urges people to seek help if they need it


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By Kate Sullivan, CNN

President Joe Biden said Thursday a lot of Americans are feeling “down” because of the pandemic and anxious about the future — particularly heading into the holiday season — and urged those struggling with mental health issues to seek help if they need it.

“How many people do you know — and maybe some in this audience — who because of what you’ve been through, a loss of a husband, wife, brother, mother, father, son, whatever, or you’ve had something that’s really impacted you with Covid, that you really find yourself just down?” Biden told Anderson Cooper at a CNN Town Hall.

The President said: “There’s a lot of people who are just down. They’re not sure how to get back in the game. They’re not sure whether they want to get back in the game.”

The President said so many events that people used to look forward to — a high school prom or a graduation ceremony, he said, for example — were canceled because of the pandemic. He said people have “a lot of anxiety,” and that he often gets asked about what holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to look like because of the pandemic and issues with the global supply chain, which are causing delays in the deliveries of some goods.

“A lot of it has to do with us getting back on our feet and getting back on our feet in terms of our attitudes about what the future looks like for us,” Biden said.

But he urged those struggling with mental health issues, perhaps exacerbated by the pandemic and lockdowns, to seek help.

“There’s plenty of help,” the President said. “Look, being down, having some problem in terms of needing some, some advice — if you have a broken spirit, it’s no different than a broken arm. You shouldn’t be ashamed of it. You should seek the help. There’s a lot of people who can help.”

The President said that many Americans are reluctant to return to work because of concerns about Covid-19. He also said many people are rethinking minimum-wage or low-paying jobs.

“People are now using this as an opportunity to say, ‘Wait a minute, do I want to go back to that $7 an hour job?'”

The Delta variant of Covid-19, which is more transmissible and may cause more severe illness than previous strains, has ripped through parts of the country with low vaccination rates for months, though cases have decreased in recent weeks. Biden and health officials have repeatedly pleaded with unvaccinated Americans to get vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them.

Biden said last week the nation was “headed in the right direction” on Covid but that the country is now is a “very critical period” as he urged unvaccinated Americans to get the shot.

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