Suicide awareness focuses on hope, resilience and recovery

Suicide awareness focuses on hope, resilience and recovery

September’s suicide awareness efforts focus on hope, resilience and recovery.

  • National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week is September 6 – 12; World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10; National Recovery Month takes place throughout September.
  • Even before the pandemic began, America faced a crisis of deaths of despair, including alcohol, drug-related and suicide fatalities.
  • A variety of resources exist to help address the health challenges made worse by COVID-19.

[3 MIN READ]

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to disrupt our daily lives and wreak havoc on our physical, emotional, financial and mental health, much of America faces a crisis of deaths of despair.

Even in a period with social media and other ways that we appear to be connected, many of us are feeling less connected to each other than ever.

“These so-called deaths of despair, alcohol, drug-related, and suicide disabilities and fatalities tie to loneliness, to hopelessness, to a sense of disconnection, and are often related to social isolation. So even in a period with social media and other ways that we appear to be connected, many of us are feeling less connected to each other than ever,” said Tyler Norris, MDiv, CEO of Well Being Trust in a podcast that addressed this critical issue. Well Being Trust is a national nonprofit foundation that Providence started in 2016 to pursue social justice and help improve the country's mental, spiritual and emotional health.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the situation worsens for people of all ages and backgrounds. In an April article, Tyler discussed how the country was facing a mental health emergency long before COVID-19 became an ever-present reality. And how the pandemic contributes to the problem.

“COVID is the great unmasker,” he said in the article. “It is the great revealer of all the things—the health inequities across the country that disproportionately impact the poor, the elderly, communities of color, immigrants—who we need to fold in like the part of the great American family they are.”

Recent research illustrates the truth of Tyler’s insights. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders increased during April and June 2020 compared with the same period last year.

Researchers surveyed a sample of adults around the United States age 18 years and older to gauge the pandemic's impact on the mental and emotional health of the country.

Here’s what they learned:

  • 40.9% of respondents have had at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition
  • 30.9% are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress-related disorders related to the pandemic
  • 26.3% started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions associated with COVID-19
  • 13.3% have seriously considered suicide

“I think the most important point is that these mental health issues: anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, and other related issues, substance-use issues, that these issues are tied to all of us. This aren't just some people in some pockets, these are our brothers and sisters and parents, our kids, our school teachers, our co-workers. It’s all of us,” Tyler said in the podcast.

If you or someone you know is in distress, get help immediately. It could save your life or the life of someone you care about.

Suicide warning signs

Suicidal thoughts and the desire to take your own life can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time, not just during a pandemic. If you or someone you care about exhibits any of the following red flags as stated by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, it may indicate an increased risk of suicide or self-harm.

Warning signs include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Acting anxious or agitated or behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

If you or someone you know is in distress, get help immediately. It could save your life or the life of someone you care about.

Free, confidential help is available

The Well Being Trust has compiled a list of organizations that offer free, potentially life-saving mental health resources.

If you need someone to talk to, the following organizations provide phone or text support that is always available:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free, confidential support all day, every day, including weekends and holidays at 1-800-273-8255.
  • Teen Line is made up of teens helping other teens address their most concerning issues and lend a listening ear. Call 310-855-4673 or text TEEN to 839863 for help or more information.
  • The Crisis Text Line is free support that’s only a text away. Text 741741 from anywhere in the United States to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

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If you need care, don’t delay. Learn more about your options.

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Find a doctor

The mental health experts at Providence can help you develop coping strategies and share resources to overcome the challenges you face. Through Providence Express Care Virtual, you can access a full range of healthcare services. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory or search for one in your area.

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Related Resources

Reach out for support: We are here

Managing grief and stress during COVID-19: Insights from NIH directors

Teen suicide: Know the warning signs

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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