We can all help prevent suicide. Every year, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and other mental health organizations and individuals across the U.S. and around the world raise awareness of suicide prevention during September, National Suicide Prevention Month. This year, more people than ever are struggling with mental health issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to come together to support each other during this challenging time.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study examined how the pandemic has affected mental health: Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020. A recent NY Times article was based on this data: Young Adults’ Pandemic Mental Health Risks. The statistics from the study show just how much people are struggling:
- Mental or behavioral health conditions: “Overall, 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%), symptoms of a trauma- and stressor-related disorder related to the pandemic (26.3%), and having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19 (13.3%).”
- Considered suicide in the last month: “The percentage of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey (10.7%) was significantly higher among respondents aged 18–24 years (25.5%), minority racial/ethnic groups (Hispanic respondents [18.6%], non-Hispanic black [black] respondents [15.1%]), self-reported unpaid caregivers for adults (30.7%), and essential workers (21.7%).”
PEOPLE NEED HELP. HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO.
- Reach out to the people in your work and in your life to connect, reduce social isolation, and support their mental health.
- Share mental health and suicide prevention resources.
- Suicide Prevention materials from Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be downloaded and shared.
- Yolo County Mental Health Crisis Lines and Resources can be printed out and disseminated (see attachments).
- Yolo County Mental Health Crisis & Access Line is available 24/7: 888-965-6647 or 800-735-2929.
- Suicide Prevention of Yolo County has crisis lines and support groups, as well as ways to volunteer to help.
- Know the Signs provides education about the warning signs of suicidality and offers tips about how to find the words and reach out to people who need help.
- Yolo County COVID-19 Resource List has local mental health resources and hotlines.
- Resources for Emotional Support and Well-being from California for All has hotlines and links to help find behavioral and mental health services.
- Manage Stress for Health from California for All has a guides to help adults, parents, and kids manage stress, as well tools for families and children to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Find ways to support mental health in your work.
At the end of the CDC article, the authors talk about the importance of “strengthening economic supports to reduce financial strain, addressing stress from experienced racial discrimination, promoting social connectedness, and supporting persons at risk for suicide. Communication strategies should focus on promotion of health services, and culturally and linguistically tailored prevention messaging regarding practices to improve emotional well-being.” Many of us already do some of these activities in our work. If you don’t already, consider trying to find ways to incorporate some of these concepts into your work.
Thank you for working to support mental health in Yolo County. Together we can make a difference.