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The hearing order stated that the World Health Organization reported a 25% increase in global rates of depression and anxiety due to the loss of life and mandated social distancing during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Durkan noted that this collective experience has had a direct impact on City of Boston employees.
"It dramatically altered how we move in society, experience community and interact with others," said Durkan. "From the beginning of the pandemic till now, the City's Employee Assistance Program has had to more than double its budget from over $200,000 in 2021, to over $650,000 in this year's budget. We need to invest in our workers' well-being, and make sure we keep moving in the right direction."
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The City of Boston Human Resource Department's Employee Assistance Program works to promote quality of life for city employees by addressing their mental health care needs without fear or stigma. Durkan noted that many city employees have jobs that are psychologically intense by nature, such as 911 dispatchers who respond to over half million calls per year or parking enforcement officers who can be put into tough situations as part of their job.
Durkan concluded her speech by saying "We ask people to do extremely challenging things, so we need to be there for them." The hearing order was assigned to the Committee on Boston's COVID-19 Recovery.
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