During a time of crisis, we have to be more mindful of people who may be feeling depressed or suicidal.
From a scientific perspective, it is difficult to predict how the rate of suicide deaths in the United States may or may not change during this international crisis. On one hand, suicide deaths may increase associated with the onset of difficult life events (e.g., unemployment, social disconnection, etc.) and the difficulty people have finding meaning and hope during these experiences. On the other hand, research has shown that sometimes national crises and other events may create a “pulling-together effect” that prevents suicide deaths.
Taken together, one of the most important things we can do right now to prevent suicide deaths is socially connect (even virtually) as much as possible.
“A key question is how effectively people can cultivate a strong sense of belonging in communities while also social distancing,” says Dr. Jennifer Lockman, CEO of Centerstone’s Research Institute. “This will require us as communities to be very purposeful and intentional about connecting virtually, such as sending caring texts or checking in via phone or video on isolated and vulnerable people.”
Finding meaning through sharing our stories is also important. Dr. Lockman’s research in suicide prevention points to this: “Perhaps it is also a call for us to be more transparent with others about ‘sharing our stories’ to foster genuine, deep connections – to share our thoughts and emotions a little more openly than we might otherwise would – and extend extra doses of compassion, grace, and forgiveness when others aren’t 100%. I am hopeful that people in our communities will feel cared for during a very difficult time – which is such a protective factor for suicide.”
For those people who are feeling suicidal, there are plenty of resources that are available to help, even during this pandemic. Centerstone remains fully operational and continuing to serve our clients and communities. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure at this time, almost all appointments are being conducted via telephone or telehealth (video). For more information, please click here. Also, our Crisis Lines remain open and fully operational for anyone who is at immediate risk of hurting themselves or someone else. For more information, please click here.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also provides 24/7, free and confidential support via phone (1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255) or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. If someone you know is in a crisis, there are 5 things you can do to communicate with them and help them, according to NSPL:
If you are in crisis, please call our crisis line, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.
If you're still having trouble and would like to reach out to someone about counseling or other Centerstone services, contact us.