Staying healthy during isolation.
Need Help? If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
This article is not a substitute for healthcare treatment.
Facts: The CDC reported that 1.4 million suicide attempts were reported in 2017 in the U.S. An average of 129 Americans are confirmed deaths by suicide daily. (https://www.datocms-assets.com/12810/1582813931-usfactsfiguresflyer.pdf)
Questions: Do we as a culture remain committed to the idea that life matters? Is each human soul valuable?
I would submit that yes, every human life matters.
Facts: We also know from research that chronic illness, use of alcohol or recreational drugs, and isolation can be some of the contributing factors to depression, anxiety, and suicide. (https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm)
If we can agree on these ideas, then we have an important conversation we need to have in the time of COVID-19 lock downs.
Yes, stay home as much as you can and stay back. We will be having serious conversations about such things as work-from-home, hugs between friends, and even shaking hands once this eases up. Ignoring infection risk is unwise.
But, how long can we stay on heavy lock downs without creating a new crisis in mental health?
At a recent news conference in Nashville, Former Congressman Patrick J Kennedy, calls at suicide hotlines have increased by 800 percent (https://www.wsmv.com/news/davidson_county/mental-health-issues-domestic-violence-on-the-rise-during-covid-19-crisis/article_893efd1e-7e6b-11ea-8c73-a3dfb4cae78f.html).
The hard numbers will come later but credible anecdotal evidence is increasing.
How do we help ourselves and one another in this time?
Normally, therapists would recommend exercise, doing something different, getting out with a friend or two for clients who are depressed or anxious.
Nope. Not now.
So, what can we do?
Here are some ideas for you:
If you need help, contact a therapist or your family doctor.
If a friend or family member is struggling help them connect with a professional.
Mental Health Information from the Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/
Suicide Statistics by State: https://afsp.org/state-fact-sheets