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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Demand For #MentalHealth And #SuicidePrevention Services Soars During #Covid-19 #Pandemic


#Mentalhealth impacted by a number of factors during #Covid crisis

Ralph Riegel  

you are worthy of love signage on brown wooden post taken
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Demand for #mentalhealth supports and #suicideprevention services have soared across Ireland during the 13-month #Covid-19 #pandemic. 

The revelation from Ireland’s first Professor of Public #MentalHealth, Prof Ella Arensman, has verified mounting anecdotal concerns that the #pandemic is having a significant #mentalhealth impact through extended #isolation, lack of social interaction, #financial #stress and personal fears about the #virus. Studies are now under way to determine the impact successive #pandemic lockdowns have had on #mentalhealth. #Suicide statistics for 2020 will not be available for three years.

However, while there is anecdotal evidence of a surge in #mentalhealth-related pleas for help during the #pandemic, there is no indication the number of suicides has soared significantly above levels experienced pre-#Covid-19 in 2018 or 2019. GPs revealed that pleas for #mentalhealth supports over the past year have been linked to #loneliness, #isolation, #depression, #stress over financial issues and emotional problems due to loss of a loved one in the #pandemic.

#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

Medical experts warned that such feelings have been amplified by the loss of normal processing systems during the #pandemic such as funerals, social gatherings and household visits.

Prof Arensman has worked for over 30 years on public #mentalhealth and #suicideprevention research. “Since the start of the #Covid-19 #pandemic last year, the attention for public #mentalhealth and #suicideprevention has been greater than ever,” she said.

“My colleagues and I in the National #Suicide Research Foundation and School of Public Health have seen a significant increase in requests for policy briefings and research collaborations over the past year. For example, the requests for real-time #suicide and self-harm data to inform #mentalhealth promotion and #suicideprevention programmes during #Covid-19 have increased over the past year.

“Requests for #mentalhealth expertise in interdisciplinary research consortia focusing on intervention and prevention measures for infectious diseases and other public health emergencies have also increased.” Prof Arensman said it was “a great honour” to become Ireland’s first Professor of Public #MentalHealth.

“This position is timely and will contribute to strengthen #suicideprevention research and public #mentalhealth in the NSRF, School of Public Health, UCC, and at national and international level,” she said.

Prof Arensman will continue in her current role as Chief Scientist at the National #Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF), while leading groundbreaking research on #suicide and self-harm within UCC’s School of Public Health.

UCC’s Dean of the Public Health School, Prof Ivan Perry, said it was an enormously important appointment.

“Prof Arensman is a global leader in public #mentalhealth who has made an enormous contribution to work on the causes and prevention of self-harm and #suicide in Ireland and internationally,” he said.

As well as being an expert advisor for the #WorldHealthOrganisation (#WHO), Prof Arensman is a former President of the International Association for #SuicidePrevention, is Vice President of the European Alliance Against #Depression, and a Steering Group member of the International #Covid-19 #SuicidePrevention Research Collaboration.

you are worthy of love signage on brown wooden post taken
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

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