September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and despite startling results from a CDC survey showing large numbers of people having contemplated suicide, mental health advocates are saying there is hope and help.
One resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report on the status of Americans’ mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. It found 40.9 percent of respondents reported having at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition. Also, 10.7 percent of adults had seriously considered suicide in the prior 30 days, and adults ages 18-24 considering suicide was at 25.5 percent.
State Rep. Bryan Terry is an anesthesiologist who has spoken publicly about health issues and the pandemic. The Murfreesboro Post asked him about suicide awareness related to the pandemic. He said the CDC findings were concerning.
“Suicide has been the second leading cause of death for our youth and young adults behind accidental deaths,” Terry said in an email. “Reportedly, this same age group has had a yearly suicidal ideation rate from around 6-11%. However, according to the CDC, the suicidal ideation for those age 18-24 has increased to 25.5% during the pandemic. Those numbers should be concerning, especially if the same percentage of people follow through with their thoughts and commit suicide.
“Having an ‘external locus of control’ is a risk factor related to suicide and individuals in this age group often tend to exhibit that orientation,” Terry said. “... These at-risk individuals look for ways to regain control and, unfortunately, they often see suicide as the ultimate form of control in one’s life.
Brett Marciel, chief communications officer for The Jason Foundation, said in a statement, “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt throughout the country and we need to be ready to deal with the mental health fallout that is sure to follow. Increased isolation has the chance to exacerbate the mental health issues that many were struggling with before the pandemic. A rise in unemployment has historically been linked to an increase in suicide rates, as well.”
Veterans: Chat at veteranscrisisline.net, text to 838255 or call 800-273-8255, and press 1.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: suicidepreventionlifeline.org or 800-273-8255
The Jason Foundation hotline: Text "Jason" to 741741.