(The Hill) – White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Thursday stressed the importance of mental health as the world prepares to enter the pandemic’s third year. 

“Mental health is a very important and difficult situation that we’re dealing with right now,” Fauci said in an interview on NewsNation’s “Morning in America.”

Fauci cited both “the health care providers who are stressed to the limit” and “children whose normal life as a child is often disrupted” as some of those who have been particularly impacted by the mental strain of COVID-19.

His remarks come as the omicron variant, first detected in South Africa last month, contribute to soaring case rates across the country. 

“Mental health is a very, very important part of what’s going on right now, and that’s the reason why there are programs now that are specifically addressing that,” he added. “The surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, has come out and spoken very explicitly about the importance of addressing the mental health issues that are associated with this pandemic.”

Earlier this month, Murthy issued a public health advisory about the mental health challenges of young people, especially as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It would be a tragedy if we beat back one public health crisis only to allow another to grow in its place,” Murthy said in the advisory’s introduction.

“Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real, and they are widespread. But most importantly, they are treatable, and often preventable,” he added.