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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #Pandemic-Related #Stress Could Lead To Increase In #MentalHealthIssues, #Suicides

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Concern is rising among experts about the long term effects the #coronavirus #pandemic might have on #mentalhealth, which could result in an increase in #suicides this year.

More than 5,000 took part in a survey by the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention looking at the impact the #pandemic has had on the #mentalhealth of #Americans.

Young adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers reported a considerable increase in #mentalhealthproblems, increased substance use and elevated #suicidalideation.

The percentage of respondents who had “seriously considered #suicide” in the 30 days before completing the survey was significantly higher for those ages 18-24, with about 25% having considered it. According to the #AmericanFoundationforSuicidePrevention, #suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S, with 48,344 people dying by suicide in 2018.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Dr. Marlo Vernon, an assistant professor at the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University, said the report highlighted a lot of the concerns experts have.

“There are a lot of social and psychological effects of #COVID-19 that are going to extend long-term. Even though we may get a handle on the #virus and the effects of it, the trauma people have experienced from #socialisolation, the economic #stress this has caused, those are all risk factors for #suicide,” Vernon said. “A lot of us in this field kind of expect to see a rise in #suicides and we hope to not see that.”

Vernon, who is leading AU’s #SeptemberSuicidePreventionAwarenessMonth program, said they are trying to ensure people know resources are available and and are working with the Richmond County #SuicidePrevention Coalition to increase awareness around #suicideprevention.

This year, Vernon said two initiatives have received a lot of community support and engagement. AU started a “Chalk About #SuicidePrevention” program that encourages people to write positive messages with chalk, take a picture and share it on #socialmedia.

#Suicideprevention resources

Georgia Crisis and Access Line: (800) 715-4225; My GCAL app allows for online chat options

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

#NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline: (800) 273-8255

“We just had a really amazing response for that. We’ve had organizations from across the county participate,” she said.

The second initiative encouraged people to wear a glow-in-the-dark wristband or clothing. Although it was originally only to take place Sept. 10, #WorldSuicideAwarenessDay, it was extended for the whole month because of community response, Vernon said.

According to the #CDC, community-level intervention and prevention efforts, including health communication strategies designed to reach at-risk groups, could help address #mentalhealthconditions associated with the #pandemic.

Vernon said it’s important for friends and families to know a wide variety of resources are available to help those in need. She said AU is working on having a #suicideprevention education curriculum available for everyone in campus and also offering QPR — Question, Persuade and Refer — training for anyone interested in learning skills for talking about #suicide and helping others.

“We are working really hard to have resources available to promote (awareness) and prevent #suicides and to really equip people to have conversations and reduce #stigma about this,” she said. “Always know what the resources are so you can refer someone to resources.”

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