Corey Johnson speaks out on mental health battle after dropping mayoral bid
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he’s relieved by his decision to drop his mayoral bid to focus on his mental health — and heartened that a public airing of his battle with depression has helped fellow New Yorkers who are also struggling with the illness.
“I have found a tremendous amount of relief in the last few days being able to finally speak openly about what has been a really challenging four or five months,” Johnson said on NY1 Monday.
On Thursday, Johnson announced he was bowing out of the 2021 mayoral race, citing his ongoing battle with depression.
He described the reaction — even from strangers — as “overwhelming[ly] positive.”
“What’s been really moving to me, Pat, is I have heard literally from hundreds of New Yorkers I have never met saying that they too have been going through a hard time and that it was meaningful to have someone who lives a public life speak openly about what they have been going through and be able to share how challenging these times have been,” Johnson told NY1’s morning anchor Pat Kiernan.
“I hope that New Yorkers who are watching this morning, if you’re struggling, you get the help and support that you need,” Johnson added.
He disclosed that he’s seeing a therapist on a weekly basis and taking medication for his depression.
“I’m sad because I was looking forward to the race,” Johnson said. The Manhattan Democrat was a front-runner in the crowded field along with city Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“But I’m also relieved that I can speak openly about it now, focus on my own health and well-being and the job I was elected to do almost three years ago,” Johnson said.
The 38-year-old Manhattan progressive stopped fundraising for his mayoral bid during the pandemic and made fewer public appearances.
Johnson also took fire from both activists and law enforcement supporters for deciding to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget in June, with the former saying he didn’t go far enough to defund the police and the latter arguing the move fueled the city’s crime wave.
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