HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The pandemic has put a strain on the mental health of many including young people. On Thursday, Governor Lamont announced a portion of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act will be used to help improve their mental health.

With higher levels of stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic, there are concerns with respect to our overall wellbeing, like mental health.

According to the American Psychological Association, there’s an increase “across the board” for those affected directly by the virus or people who have struggled with the changes because of what’s needed to contain it.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, money is targeted to address mental health, especially children who have been affected the most.

“I can’t think of a more important time, and this is what I’m telling the commissioners, to think big in terms of our opportunity to take care of these populations who’ve been hit the hardest,” Governor Lamont said.

Connecticut’s goals under the Rescue Act for Mental Health are increases for school behavioral health programs, support for substance abuse programs, funding for youth suicide prevention and address needs stemming from the pandemic.

“The additional resources that are coming in will focus on suicide prevention programs and activities,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Comm. Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “And so, that’s one area that we’ll be working on. They’re also resources focusing on community mental health programs and initiatives. And we know that’s so important.”

Governor Lamont said his heart breaks from the calls the 211 hotline receives from kids reeling from stress and isolation. Kids, he said, the state will be paying special attention to as we return to summer programs leading up to the next school year.