Mental health advocates offer suicide prevention information for those impacted by COVID-19
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The coronavirus pandemic is causing numerous hardships for families across the country. Those hardships include the stress of losing a job, business closures, and financial loss. Those factors could all lead to suicidal thoughts.
I caught up with some mental health advocates this week about their message to people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts during this time.
“Suicide has no face in my opinion,” Kim Barnett, a Behavioral Health Support Administrative Coordinator, said.
Barnett knows all too well the pain of losing someone due to suicide.
“I had a friend take their life not too long ago. And the guilt from that, you just cant explain it,” Barnett said.
Barnett is not alone. Families across the country are feeling losses of all kinds during the pandemic.
“During this time with Covid, its’ affecting so many businesses and so many people and their employment,” Rose Blakey Phillips said.
Blakey-Phillips is a licensed professional counselor in the Wiregrass.
“I think there has been some increase in suicide in the numbers of suicide since the pandemic. But I also think that (the virus) is going to be an ongoing risk factor,” Blakey-Phillips said.
She says the pandemic is causing a lot of anxiety, depression, and other risk factors, which can result in suicidal thoughts. Outward signs include withdrawal, isolation and anger issues. If you notice someone close to you who may be battling those thoughts-- reach out before its too late.
“If you ever get somebody that you pick up on a vibe that they may do something like that, what I would do is just talk to them and listen. The best thing you can do is listen to somebody, because if they think you’re there and you actually care, that will make them feel a little better,” Barnett said.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or depression, there are local and national resources available. Local resources for those in need of food include the Wiregrass Area Food Bank. Wiregrass 2-1-1 can put you into contact with a local counselor.
“My message to everybody is no matter how deep you are in debt, how bad the money situation is, or how scary it is that you can’t pay the rent, or how scary it is that you cant feed your family, there is always another option other than suicide,” Blakey-Phillips said.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call 1-800-273-TALK.
You can find more information here at the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
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