Latest “Ask the Doc” Virtual Town Hall to Focus on Mental Health, Coping with COVID-19

LIVE Q&A to Stream Thursday on Facebook and YouTube

Are you feeling anxious about taking part in everyday activities due to concerns about contracting COVID-19? Does the isolation you’ve experienced over the past year have you feeling down? These are some of the emotions that local mental health experts will discuss on April 15 during Wake County Public Health’s latest “Ask the Doc” virtual town hall meeting.

At 7 p.m., they will share ways to cope with COVID-19 and provide resources to help improve the wellbeing of residents who are struggling with stress, grief, loss, mental health challenges, domestic abuse and substance use disorders.

Wake County Public Health will stream the informal discussion simultaneously via its Town Hall Facebook and Town Hall YouTube events. Links to both can also be found at Participants can ask questions live during the meeting or submit them online prior to tomorrow’s discussion.

The panel of experts includes:

  • Dr. Rasheeda Monroe, a pediatrician and medical director at WakeMed Health & Hospitals;
  • Dr. Rosalind Spells, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist;
  • Dr. Leslie L. Bronner, an adult psychiatrist at Duke Health;
  • Sheryl Cromedy, a domestic abuse counselor and director of the Personal & Economic Empowerment Program at InterAct; and
  • Rev. Jeremy Gilmore, a grief counselor and spiritual care director for WakeMed Health & Hospitals.

Additional health experts will help answer questions asked via the chat feature. They include: Rev. Sara Robb-Scott, a bereavement program coordinator at WakeMed Health & Hospitals; Dr. Stefanie Etienne, a family medicine specialist with Wake County Human Services; and Dr. Anne Ruminjo, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the UNC School of Medicine.

“We really want these virtual town hall meetings to be opportunities for people – especially those in black and brown communities – to ask questions in an open, honest and safe environment, so they can get factual answers from experts who share their cultural experiences,” said Lechelle Wardell, community outreach and engagement manager for Wake County Public Health.

The coronavirus pandemic has amplified inequities in health care for communities of color, as well as the social and economic factors that contribute to poor health outcomes. Coping with the trauma, stress and anxiety that comes with death, illness, economic uncertainty, lack of childcare and social isolation has communities of color reporting higher instances of symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, increased substance abuse and suicide.

According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted during the pandemic, 48% of non-Hispanic black adults and 46% of Hispanic or Latino adults are reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder compared to 41% of non-Hispanic white adults. Historically, these communities of color have faced challenges accessing mental health and substance abuse care.

Click here to watch any episode of the “Ask the Doc” series, which has been offered in both English and Spanish. Again, links to both of Thursday night’s livestreams can be found at For more information on the COVID-19 and vaccine, visit

Press Release