Mental Health and Suicide Awareness and Resources

Mental Health and Suicide Awareness and Resources

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Everyone in the world is experiencing the COVID 19 pandemic to varying degrees depending on your geography, but we all are undeniably experiencing change, uncertainty, anxiety, frustration, increased family togetherness while physical distancing, losses of jobs routines, losses of events long anticipated and even death.
 
These factors can complicate issues of mental illness. These stresses reduce one’s ability to cope and may lead to a mental health crisis. If you or someone you know is having trouble completing daily tasks, showing rapid mood swings, becoming more agitated or abusive, it may be time to get help. Mental health counselors are available through state and national crisis hotlines and can help sort out what services are needed.
  
Sometimes severe depression, anxiety, hopelessness and uncertainty can lead to thoughts of suicide. There may be warning signs that tell us it is time to get help such as giving away personal possessions, dramatic personality changes, increased drug and alcohol use, statements like, “you would be better off without me,” or talking like it is a last “good-bye.”
 
If you recognize any of these warning signs in someone you know, there are ways to help. First, if there is immediate danger, call 911, safety is primary! It is OK to ask someone if they are having thoughts of suicide or hurting themselves or others, you will not be giving them ideas.  You will be opening the door to listen. Stay with the person, or on the phone with them while someone else gets help. Listen and reassure the person while staying calm yourself. Maybe engage the person in doing some calming breathing exercises while on the phone with you.
 
Educate yourself and the community about the resources available for people in distress. The Helplines are free and confidential. Trained crisis counselors will respond and provide tips for coping, information, and referrals.
 
The following is a list of national and state specific resources:
 
National:
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, text TalkWithUs to 66746
    • 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or text HOME to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline  1-800-662 HELP (4357)  https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
  • SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990 https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline
Connecticut Massachusetts Rhode Island

Author

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Deborah Ringen

Deborah Ringen is Transitional Minister of Health and Wellness for the Southern New England Conference, UCC.

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