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Raiders' Carl Nassib Becomes 1st Openly Gay Active NFL Player; California Plans to Pay Off COVID-Related Back Rent; Ice Cream Shop Doubled Pay to $15, Filled All Its Positions; Push to Reopen Shining Light on Pandemic's Toll on Mental Health; Lawmakers Concerned about Aggression, Violence Post-Pandemic. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired June 22, 2021 - 13:30   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Support is pouring in for the Las Vegas Raiders' defensive end, Carl Nassib, after his groundbreaking announcement on Instagram.


CARL NASSIB, DEFENSIVE END, LOS VEGAS RAIDERS: I want to take a quick moment to say I'm gay. I've been meaning to do this for a while now. But I feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.


CABRERA: With that, Nassib is the first active player in the NFL history to come out as gay. The 28-year-old says sharing his true identity is something he has agonized over for 15 years.

CNN sports anchor, Andy Scholes, is with us now.

How are other players and the league reacting?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Ana, Nassib's team, the Raiders, the NFL and the players around the league applauding Nassib for having to courage to make this announcement.

And this is a huge moment for sports. Carl Nassib is the first openly gay active player in the NF and the only openly gay play over many sports.

Nassib says he hopes his announcement is going to help others.

Many NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over. One of those players is former Titans quarterback, Wade Davis.

A friend of his says Nassib on the coming out to the world. He's inviting the world in.

Davis explained what he meant by that this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WADE DAVIS, FORMER TITANS QUARTERBACK: LGBTQ folks don't come out of some closet. We aren't monsters or wire hangers. And it's actually the society at large that is unsafe that doesn't allow us to live in our full humanity.

We're actually giving folks an invitation to do better, to get better, and, therefore, we will invite you all in.


SCHOLES: Many other former and current players praising Nassib. J.J. Watt tweets, "Good for you, Carl. Good you feel good enough o share. Hopefully someday these types of announcements will no longer be considered breaking news."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying in a statement, "The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageous sharing his truth. Representation matters."

Tennis legend and LGBTQ Activist Billie Jean King taking to Twitter saying, "The ability to live an authentic life is so important. Representation and visibility matter."

Now, Nassib also in his post shared he's donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that aims to prevent suicide been LGBTQ communities.

The NFL tweeting this morning, "You can be that person who saves a life with more information on the project."

They used what Nassib said in his post, that studies have shown it only takes one accepting adult to decrease the risk of a LGBTQ youth from committing suicide.

That could be a coach, a friend, teammate. Anyone could be that person that helps, Ana.

Nassib said he's a private person. He didn't do this for attention. He doesn't want to do a bunch of media interviews. He did this to help people that may be in his shoes like he was.

CABRERA: That 40 percent stat you gave, that's incredible. And again, showing how one person can make a difference.

Thank you so much, Andy Scholes, for bringing us that.

A fresh start for renters in California who have struggled to pay up during the pandemic. How the state is planning to cover all those unpaid bills.



CABRERA: During the pandemic a federal eviction moratorium helped millions of people stay in their homes when they couldn't afford rent. That will expire at the end of the month leaving many in a bind.

But those in California are getting a lifeline from the state which now says it will pay 100 percent of any COVID-related back rent.

CNN correspondent, Stephanie Elam, is live in Los Angeles.

Stephanie, how much money are we talking about and how is the state paying for this?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's what everyone wants to know, Ana. We're talking about a $5.2 billion plan that the state is working on.

And they're saying this is being funded entirely by federal stimulus money under Biden's American Rescue Plan.

This was going to be money that will date back to -- I should say rent that dates back to April of 2020. All pandemic-related issues when people lost their jobs and couldn't work.

Obviously, this will help struggling renters clean that slate and help landlords get the money back they lost during that time.

We know there will be an added $2 billion set aside for utility bills as well.

All of this, obviously, very important to getting the state back on board.

Obviously, Governor Gavin Newsom on a very much wants to see the state roaring back. He has an invested interest and he's facing a recall vote in the state as well.

CABRERA: There's that, but what a relief to so many people in the state. We have done stories on people evicted from their homes because they couldn't pay the rent.

Does this now apply to all tenants or are there some parameters?

ELAM: There are parameters in the sense that they're going to target low-income tenants first. But yes, it is for Californians who are struggling.

As we know, there are a lot of people across the board and many different industries who are hit because they couldn't go to work. This is going to prioritize the low income but it is going to affect everyone in the state.


Right now, we know that there's still debate in the state legislature. Once they're done with that, that's when we should see a full plan presented in California.

But obviously, this is giving a lot of people a lot of relief today.

CABRERA: Stephanie Elam, thank you for that.

Next hour, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to tell House lawmakers that the economy is improving as it emerges from COVID restrictions.

But the financial realities are much different than 16 months ago. Supply chain issues and material shortages are pushing prices higher. That means we're spending more on things like housing and cars.

The way we work has changed. The labor force is shrinking. It's taking more for employers to attract workers.

Let me tell you about an Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor in Pittsburgh. When no one responded to an ad, co-owner, Jacob Hanchar made a decision. He raised wages to $15 an hour. That was a game changer.

Jacob is here now to talk more about this.

Thank you for having me and thank you to CNN for covering this important topic.

JACOB HANCHAR, CO-OWNER, KLAVON'S ICE CREAM PARLOR: Thank you having me. Thank you to CNN for covering this very important topic.

CABRERA: I am excited to hear how this has worked out for you. You went from 7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. You doubled your wages after the pandemic. That is not a small change. Why did you make this decision?

HANCHAR: I made it because the writing on the wall was clear. I was starting to lose really good employees to people paying more.

And we're -- like you were mentioning in the discussion beforehand, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people look at jobs.

And I thought, I'm going to step up. I'm going to challenge other businesses and start paying 15 there are an hour and see what happens.

CABRERA: And what happened?

HANCHAR: We had more than 1,000 applications over the course of a week. We filled 16 positions. Very quickly, I would say within 24 hours. Morale has improved and the costs have gone down. The costs of training our employees.

And also we are introducing new types of products, higher margin products because I have more competent people. Revenue is up. We are having a record year.

And 2019 was a record year for us. But now we're having a record year. We're beyond pre-COVID levels as a result.

CABRERA: I think one of the big fears for some people who are against raising wages is that they're going to have to pass on the costs to customers. They're going to have to charge more. But you didn't do that. So you raised wages and didn't raise prices. How did that work out?

HANCHAR: Correct. There's also frustration with business owners, and I completely can relate.

I have to go and do this myself. I have to go and do this myself. Why am I bothering to pay anybody? Why should I do everything myself and pay people less because they're not doing the work I hired them to do.

My advice is fire them. Hire better people. Pay them more.

What's happened now is our products are higher quality. And our margins are better as a result.

So, for example, if someone gets an order wrong, that ends up in the trash. If someone does a milk shake wrong, that's in the trash. That drives your costs up.

So what ends up happening is if you have more competent labor, what I'm seeing is the cost of goods is actually going down, and that's evening out. So our margins have remained the same.

CABRERA: It sounds like you're sharing lessons learned through the pandemic. And through this necessary experiment of yours. I wonder, has this been sort of an eye opener when it comes to what is considered a livable wage?

HANCHAR: Yes. For sure. I was actually shocked we got that many applications. Going from zero to 1,000 tells you that there's something going on in the market that I think many people do not fully understand. And I didn't understand it at the time.

One thing I'm doing right now, other business owners are stepping up in Pittsburgh. There are about 30 who have said we're going to raise to $15 an hour. Help us find the people. We've almost mutated into a recruitment firm at the moment.

But two things I'll tell businesses if you're having trouble finding employees. Lead with the conclusion. If $15 an hour is saving -- immediately.

I see a lot of ads that talk about pizza parties, things like that. Employees are clever. They're going to read through that and know you're paying a low wage.

The second thing I would mention. I've seen this with about half the people that come to me, improve your social media presence. Having a handle on Twitter. Having a LinkedIn profile. Even if you're a small business, you have to have it.


And you will start seeing, if you make those two improvements to your listings, you'll get more people applying for your positions.

CABRERA: That is all helpful advice. Thank you, Jacob Hanchar, for sharing your story. And best of luck as

you continue to succeed hopefully after the pandemic now.

HANCHAR: Thank you.

CABRERA: We've talked about the economic impacts of the pandemic. What about mental health impacts? If getting back to, quote, "normal," isn't as easy as you thought, you are not alone.



CABRERA: The new normal for many Americans coming out of the pandemic is a tough adjustment. A new survey finds more than 40 percent of U.S. adults feel down, depressed or hopeless several days a week. That number is 56 percent among adults under 30.

Another heart-breaking find, a new CDC study says suspected suicide attempts and self-harm visits to the E.R. among adolescent girls jumped over 50 percent during the pandemic.

Now that people are gathering again, it seems we have had nonstop reports of unruly airline passengers, fans, hate crime assaults, mass shootings. And law enforcement officials are sounding worried.


MURPHY PAUL, CHIEF, BATON ROUGE POLICE DEPARTMENT: We have seen the data change. We have seen people's state of mind change ever since the COVID pandemic has presented so many challenges from the economic hardship, the stress, the anxiety.

I can tell you, mental health, mental health is real. We have to deal with the causes of crime.


CABRERA: With us now is Jenna Carl, a licensed psychologist and vice president of clinical development in medical affairs at Big Health, a digital therapeutics company.

Thanks so much for being with us.

As a psychologist, what are you seeing as the biggest impact on people's mental health emerging from the pandemic?


Yes. As those stats summarized, there's still a lot of bad news when it comes to mental health and the pandemic.

So we have suffered a lot of loss. That's loss of life, loss of livelihood, loss of way of life, and these -- the impact of these things are still very real for people. There's a lot of grief. The impact of socialization, the economic

insecurity and the continued challenges of parenting and care giving at this time.

So now we take that and you consider the fact that on top of that there's a so-called return to new normal, which is a number of additional new stressors that are associated with just returning back to the office, going back to school, things that seem like they would be, you know, things that are exciting.

But, in fact, they're still changes and they're being compounded with these pre-existing issues. And change is notoriously difficult for people. So it is a time to expect continued difficulty adjusting.

And I would just also say there's a lot of uncertainty around exactly what these changes are going to look like, what the timeline is for what the new normal will really be like. And uncertainty is also a major driver of stress and anxiety.

So unfortunately, I'm going to expect more mental health difficulties for the foreseeable future in relation to the pandemic, so it is a very significant impact.

CABRERA: I guess that leaves for people to hear that maybe can provide some comfort in just knowing they're not alone and that feeling that a lot of us are going through given the circumstances.

How do you think the aggression we're seeing at sporting events or an airplanes, you know, this wave of crime from shootings to assaults, even shoplifting fits into this whole conversation on mental health?

CARL: Yes. It's a great question. So it's very complex and there's going to be a lot of different factors because, of course, there's also a lot of economic and political uncertainties. And those are also associated with violence and things like that.

But from a mental health standpoint, it is also the case that many mental health conditions have symptoms of irritability and anger and difficulties regulating emotion and they are also impacted by increased stress.

And, so, right now, of course, that is a piece of what's happening, is that, you know, there are these increases in mental health symptoms, which, you know, could relate to lashing out and other, you know, difficulties managing your -- you know, your emotions and handling things in a more, you know, even-keeled way.

But it is a complicated picture. So I don't want to overstate the role of mental health versus other things.

CABRERA: I do want to end at least with some tangible solutions for people right now.

For someone watching that may have to return back to the office after working from home for the past year and they may be experiencing anxiety or just high levels of stress, what are some things they can do to help themselves?

CARL: First and foremost, I could encourage anyone that's struggling, you are not alone. It is 40 percent of the U.S. population right now that's experiencing depression and difficulty sleeping, et cetera.

If that feels like you, please reach out to your doctor, first and foremost, because they will be in the best position to help you identify the right care for you.


I would also say there's been creative solutions that emerged during the pandemic. That's been one of the silver linings for mental health.

I would reach out to your employer or health insurer and see what types of mental health are available to you.

We developed digital programs that could help with common mental health issues and may be easier to access if there's a wait list for providers or things like that.

CABRERA: Absolutely. I wish we had more time for such an important topic.

Thank you, Jenna Carl, for being with us.

And help is available if you need it, and if, you know, there's an extreme case where you are really feeling down. Here is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the bottom of our screen.

Thank you all for being here with us today. I'll be you back here tomorrow at 1:00 Eastern. Follow me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera.

And stay tuned for Alisyn and Victor next.