NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a surprising announcement Thursday from New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson about the race for mayor, and the personal reason behind it.

Johnson announced he is dropping out of the mayoral race, and revealed he’s been suffering from depression.

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In a statement explaining his decision not to run for mayor after all, Johnson noted he’s been “dealing with some personal challenges over the past few months, namely – depression.”

On Twitter, Johnson said he was advised not to disclose this, but further went on to say:

“Too often mental health issues are shrouded in secrecy and stigmas, which causes people struggling with these issues to feel alone. I encourage anyone who is experiencing a mental health condition to seek help. I did and I am better for it,” he wrote.

“I love this city with all my heart and I believe by working together, we will come back stronger than ever,” Johnson wrote. “Let’s continue looking out for one another and fighting for the greatest city in the world.”

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“This pandemic has impacted us all in unimaginable ways. I applaud you for being open about your mental health, and sharing your story,” Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter.

This week, the New York City Health Department released the results of a survey taken by 1,200 New Yorkers during April and May, 44% reported symptoms of anxiety due to COVID-19, and 36% reported symptoms of depression.

“There are a lot of people struggling in silence right now. I just want to applaud the Speaker and say what he did is a gift to New Yorkers,” said Dr. Alexandra Stratyner, a psychologist with Stratyner and Associates.




Dr. Stratyner says it’s important to know your limits.

“You need to consider are you putting your continued health and well being at risk by continuing to work or pursue professional positions that might impede in your ability to recover. Your life and your well-being have to come first,” she said.

People in Speaker Johnson’s district reacted to his disclosure.

“He’s recognizing he has a situation going on, brought it to the forefront instead of just masking it,” said Hell’s Kitchen resident Moet Muler.

“I think that’s great. The more people that see that it’s more common than we all suspect, the better it is for everybody else,” said Hell’s Kitchen resident Lori Goodman.

“He’s an openly gay man, and so I think particularly in the gay community mental health is very shut down. So for him to be able to be open about it and his other experiences, it paints a better picture of who he is and hopefully for other people to see that too,” said therapist Bryan Aston.

Though Johnson says he will no longer run for mayor, he will still continue to serve as speaker of the City Council.

Johnson stressed this isn’t the end of his public life – running for mayor just wasn’t the right path for him.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, you’re urged to reach out to someone, and know you’re not alone.

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