Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

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Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

Post by TimGDixon »

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with mental health challenges related to the morbidity and mortality caused by the disease and to mitigation activities, including the impact of physical distancing and stay-at-home orders.* Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019 (1,2). To assess mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the pandemic, representative panel surveys were conducted among adults aged ≥18 years across the United States during June 24–30, 2020. Overall, 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%), symptoms of a trauma- and stressor-related disorder (TSRD) related to the pandemic† (26.3%), and having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19 (13.3%). The percentage of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey (10.7%) was significantly higher among respondents aged 18–24 years (25.5%), minority racial/ethnic groups (Hispanic respondents [18.6%], non-Hispanic black [black] respondents [15.1%]), self-reported unpaid caregivers for adults§ (30.7%), and essential workers¶ (21.7%). Community-level intervention and prevention efforts, including health communication strategies, designed to reach these groups could help address various mental health conditions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. ... mm6932a1_w
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Re: Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

Post by trader32176 »

A Mental Health Pandemic: The Second Wave of COVID-19

June 14, 2020
James Lake, MD ... f-covid-19

The pandemic has brought about uneasy feelings that can exacerbate mental illness and cause further mental health issues. In its current state, our mental health system is not prepared to deal with what may become a global mental health pandemic, but there are ways to address it.

Call for a National Strategy

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing suffering on a magnitude that is unprecedented in living memory. Millions have lost their livelihoods and are struggling financially. Tens of thousands have lost loved ones, and hundreds of thousands who have been infected with the virus face the very real prospect of serious illness or death. The health and financial costs of COVID-19 have resulted in widespread feelings of helplessness and overwhelming anxiety and despair in response to circumstances over which we have little or no control. Chronic exposure to severe stress in the absence of control among countless millions constitutes a perfect storm, with severe mental health consequences on a global scale, including increased rates of depressed mood, suicide, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Individuals who were already struggling with mental illness before COVID-19 are now facing even greater challenges. After effective antivirals and vaccines have been developed and we have begun to contain the pandemic, the US and many other countries will be faced with a mental health pandemic that will probably continue for years to come. Historically, increases in rates of severe mental illnesses have often followed in the aftermath of national crises. For example, during the decade of the Great Depression from 1929 to 1939, the suicide rate rose from 13.9 to 17.4 per 100,000. Traumatic memories of surviving years of hardship during the Great Depression resulted in high rates of anxiety and depressed mood for generations. Although economic downturns disproportionately affected the health and well-being of the lower income segment of the population, all socioeconomic groups are negatively impacted.

A second wave of the pandemic will be driven by intense feelings of anxiety and despair in a world that is no longer predictable and safe due to high rates of unemployment and homelessness coupled with traumatic memories of surviving one’s own brush with COVID-19 or the death of a partner, parent, or loved one. The personal, social, and economic burden of human suffering, treatment costs, disability compensation, and productivity losses related to mental health problems in normal times have been major public health issues in the US and worldwide. This pandemic has served to amplify the personal, social, and economic costs of mental illness to a magnitude that is unprecedented. It is likely that the mental health consequences of COVID-19 will become the most urgent public health challenge worldwide for decades to come, impacting the well-being and productivity of billions. If left untreated, the psychiatric sequelae associated with the pandemic will have serious long-term social and financial consequences for all areas of human life, including personal relationships, family dynamics, academic performance, and work productivity.

The need for a comprehensive strategy

Developing and implementing programs aimed at enhancing resilience and treating individuals struggling with the mental health consequences of COVID-19 deserves the same urgent priority that is now being assigned to the development and testing of vaccines and antivirals. Large scale proactive measures are a key part of successfully preparing millions of people as they resume their day-to-day lives and livelihoods and is an essential step in re-starting stalled economies on a global scale. In the absence of such proactive measures, COVID-19’s long-term global impact on mental health could easily be as devastating and costly as the financial impact of the virus.

Rethinking the usual model of care

Such large-scale programs must be realistic from a cost perspective. Implementing resources that are both adequate and affordablecalls for a review of limitations of the existing model of mental health care. In the current model of care (so-called usual care), individuals with medical problems are triaged and treated by family physicians while individuals with mental health complaints are seen in a different outpatient setting by psychiatrists and psychologists. The result is that individuals who have both medical and mental health problems typically receive care at different times, in different clinical settings, and from different clinicians who often do not have pertinent information about pre-existing health problems and treatment history. In outpatient medical clinics, the priority on efficient triage of medical problems may cause delays in the diagnosis and treatment of serious psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder and PTSD, due to the limited time spent screening patients for mental health problems.1

Although usual care segregates medical care and mental health services, depressed mood, anxiety, and other common mental health problems are frequently comorbid with medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, lung disorders, chronic pain, and diabetes. In addition, usual care is associated with disparities in the delivery of mental health services to different socioeconomic classes.

In response to the limitations of usual care, innovative collaborative care models are being developed and implemented in outpatient clinic settings. In collaborative care, a team of family physicians (or other primary care providers) and behavioral health clinicians work together using systematic and cost-effective approaches aimed at providing patient-centered care that addresses both medical and mental health problems. Studies show that collaborative care models are more effective than usual care for treatment of mental health problems while simultaneously reducing health care disparities. Collaborative care has also been shown to be more effective for managing patients with chronic mental health problems who have comorbid medical disorders, and is more cost-effective than usual care.

Rethinking mainstream mental health approaches

In addition to improving the existing model of care, we need to rethink current mainstream approaches in mental health care in order to adequately address the mental health impacts of the pandemic. Although psychotropic medications are often effective treatments of depression, anxiety, and PTSD, such conventional treatments have limited effectiveness and safety problems, and they are unaffordable to large numbers of individuals who would otherwise benefit from them. Initiatives aimed at enhancing psychological resilience and treating mental health problems resulting from the pandemic should include non-medication (ie, complementary and alternative medicine [CAM]) interventions supported by research evidence. Examples include a regular mindfulness practice for anxiety, exercise for depression, and select natural supplements known to be safe and efficacious adjunctive treatments of specific mental health problems.

A call to urgent action

It is time for the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Mental Health, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and experts in complementary and alternative medicine to join forces and propose a national strategy for developing and implementing large-scale programs and resources needed to adequately address the growing COVID-19 mental health pandemic. Clinical resources should ideally be implemented following a collaborative care model placing equal emphasis on enhancing psychological resilience in healthy individuals and treating serious mental health problems. In order to be most effective and cost-effective, a COVID-19 mental health initiative should incorporate evidence-based conventional and alternative treatments, and should be made available at little or no cost to the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and their health insurance.
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Re: Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

Post by trader32176 »

Research reveals people’s mental health is negatively impacted by COVID-19
New study uses online resources to compare mental health outcomes in individuals studied before COVID-19 versus those responding during the pandemic.

Jun17,2020 ... d-covid-19

New research out of Australia published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research indicates that individuals living during the coronavirus pandemic had significantly worse mental health outcomes than their peers measured before the pandemic.

The study used an online mental health-measurement platform to compare the mental health of people before and during the pandemic. Researchers also looked at the feasibility of using a tool like this for future studies.

"Although further research is needed, our findings support the serious mental health implications of the pandemic and highlight the utility of internet-based data collection tools in providing evidence to innovate and strengthen practice and policy during and after the pandemic,” researchers wrote in the report.


Researchers collected data on participants’ levels of depression, stress, anxiety, well-being, life satisfaction and resilience.

The participants were divided into three cohorts: those who registered during the pandemic (the COVID-19 group), those who generally registered for SAHMRI services (the general group) and those who were seeking help (the help-seeking group). Participants measured during COVID-19 demonstrate significantly worse outcomes on all mental health measures compared to those measured before.

The study also examined the proportion of participants that displayed mental health problems, indicated by “problematic scores on at least one of the outcomes.” They found that 79% of participants measured during the pandemic reported problematic mental health outcomes, compared to 52% in the general group and 58% in the help-seeking group.


Participants were adults who engaged with services offered by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Wellbeing and Resilience Centre, based in Adelaide.

The COVID-19 group consisted of 673 participants, while the control cohorts consisted of 1,264 participants and 340 participants from the general group and the help-seeking group, respectively.

There were more women, unemployed people, and people who were in school, and the average age was higher in the COVID-19 group, compared to both of the control groups.

Researchers used the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 Items, the Mental Health Continuum Short-Form (MHC-SF), the Satisfaction with Life Scale and the Brief Resilience Scale to assess participants’ psychological state.


The researchers involved in this study stressed the need for these results to be placed in the context of Australia, where the impact of COVID-19 has been less than it has in the U.S.

Nonetheless, these results point to areas that need to be addressed in every community.

“They flag a deterioration of mental health profiles among the general non-clinical population, suggesting an urgent need for prevention or early intervention to improve mental health and well-being and equip people with resources to better cope in times of adversity,” researchers wrote in the report. “Second, it is likely that levels of distress among people with mental disorders are even higher, pointing to an urgent need for local research and subsequently intervention when this is confirmed.”

The World Health Organization has also called for action on mental health.

In its policy brief, the WHO recommends taking a holistic approach to address the public’s mental health, providing more emergency mental health support systems and building more mental health services now for the future.

“Good mental health is critical to the functioning of society at the best of times,” the WHO wrote in its report. “It must be front and centre of every country’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, numerous digital health companies have released mental health tools for the public. These include companies like Wysa, Mindstrong, and Meru, which have all made moves this month to improve their services.
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Re: Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

Post by EhrTSOI » ... egislation

In another remarkable bipartisan win this summer, the Senate passed landmark veterans' health and suicide prevention legislation.

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Fiscal Stimulus Strategy for Mental Health post Coronavirus Pandemic

Post by curncman »

Fiscal Stimulus Strategy for Mental Health post Coronavirus Pandemic
For the first time in human history, everyone will have at least have a ‘touch and go’ with mild depression or in the extreme ‘some form of tension’ to the impending financial loss or a job loss.

https://health.economictimes.indiatimes ... c/75091107

By Dr. Rahul K. Garg

The 2020 Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is upsetting the routine life for majority of humans across the globe. As much as this pandemic is jolting the economy, there is a sublime impact on the health of the demographic dividend of every nation. An individual infected with this virus, loses somewhere between 4 to 15 productive days. And in some extreme cases, loses life. For the rest of the population that escaped a brush with this virus, there will still be a little acute/chronic health impact. Everyone in this world is psychologically impacted by this life defining pandemic of 21st century.

Humankind is experiencing an unprecedented mental health epidemic globally. Just like Covid-19, the clinically detected mental health cases are a tip of iceberg. It is expected that about 15% of global population is experiencing some form of psychological condition. Anxiety, substance abuse, depression, and bipolar formulate 80% of these cases. Less surprisingly, a pandemic like Covid-19 is superimposing and enhancing anxiety, substance abuse, and ultimately depression amongst the population at large. The current pandemic is the tipping point for the mental health subclinical cases to move into the clinical zone. The process of quarantines and lockdowns coupled with loss of lives is comparable to a situation where civilizations experience wars or social oppression. Whether one is infected or not, the sheer pressure of news and numbers keep one under ‘Screen Depression’ like we have the ‘white coat hypertension’. For the first time in human history, everyone will have at least have a ‘touch and go’ with mild depression or in the extreme ‘some form of tension’ to the impending financial loss or a job loss. The effects are already surfacing during the escalation phase; divorce rates have gone up in China, gun sales have skyrocketed in USA, and hoarding of daily necessities has failed supply chains. Soon, drug overdose deaths will overtake the mortality rates of Covid-19. Every Mental health indicator is blinking to indicate the imperative of timely action to avert another global catastrophe.

Many governments are scrambling to find ways to infuse money into the economy to keep it afloat. Globally, governments are expected to push in about US$ 10 trillion into the economy within the year 2020. Most this money is directed towards wage substitution, corporate loans, and social security. We know now that our healthcare system is ill equipped to handle pandemics and epidemics, how much money is infused for resuscitation into the healthcare sector? Apart from hospital revenue substitution, probably ZERO!

If we were to experience about a billion cases needing mental health help annually, how do we tackle this from a fiscal point of view? The key investment reliant challenges that a mental health authority will be facing are regarding the capacity to handle the patient load, right skills and tools to deal with the patients, and engagement of the community to curb the surge. For the tsunami of cases coming in near future, the focus of investment in mental health should be around preparing people, processes, and technology to match the demand.

Firstly, build a physical infrastructure and talent capacity to deal with the caseload. The current mental health clinics and hospitals are running over capacity in almost every region. To match the demand, every government should consider doubling the physical infrastructure. If this is not financially feasible, consider introducing revised protocols that enable patients to get virtual treatment and standardized home care. The world needs 50% more psychologists and psychiatrists to fulfil the current demand. Another 50% more to meet the future demand. It takes 4 – 6 years to train a licensed professional. Academic capacity expansion is a long-term strategy. In the short-term, nurses and social workers should be trained to shoulder the workload of professionals. Delegating tasks like triage, monitoring, follow-up, and emergency contacts to the paramedical staff is a great starting point. Using AI based DSS would address the shortfall significantly. The aim is to create higher capacity with minimal investments. The family members and care takers should be trained to provide basic home care for the mentally ill. Providing monetary concessions and tax rebates to the care takers is the role that governments must play. Fiscal stimulus is needed to account for capacity building and incentivizing right approaches.
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‘COVID-19 taking its toll on mental health’

Post by curncman »

“Depression, anxiety disorders, stress reactions, suicides, adjustment disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, and acute psychotic disorders are various post-Covid mental problems reported from many affected countries. However, most of these mental disorders are preventable,” he says.

He says the challenges posed by the pandemic are severe as it affects the physical and mental health of people, their finances and social life. Worries about an uncertain future and loss of employment are only some aspects that impact the mental well-being, ultimately leading to an unprecedented post-Covid suicide rate, he says.

Evidence-based methods
He says suicides can be prevented by using evidence-based methods.

“People with mental disorders may be at a higher risk for COVID-19 due to their social disadvantages such as poor nutrition, overcrowding, stigma, poverty or their inability to follow the public health protective advices like hand hygiene, physical distancing, self-isolation etc. Though home quarantine decreases viral transmission, it also increases the risks of excessive alcohol use, family violence, and suicidality,” Dr. Kallivayalil quoted from WPA’s position statement.

Education on the pandemic safety measures should be provided by authorities and reinforced by psychiatrists.
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Re: Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

Post by trader32176 »

More young people are dying by suicide, and experts aren't sure why

9/11/20 ... 463549001/

The rate of suicide among those aged 10 to 24 increased nearly 60% between 2007 and 2018, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rise occurred in most states, with 42 experiencing significant increases.

"It's a real trend that has been demanding, for a while, a serious public health and research effort to understand what is happening and why," said Anna Mueller, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University Bloomington who studies suicides in adolescents. "I don't buy that it's just social media, which is one of the explanations that I most consistently see."

The suicide rate increased from 6.8 per 100,000 in 2007 to 10.7 in 2018. The report compared three-year averages of suicide rates for 2007–2009 and 2016–2018 and found:

The 2016–2018 suicide rate among persons aged 10–24 was highest for Alaska (31.4 per 100,000).
States with the highest suicide rates for that period include South Dakota (23.6), Montana (23.2), Wyoming (20.5) and New Mexico (19.6).
States in the Northeast were among those with the lowest suicide rates: New Jersey (5.7), Rhode Island (5.9), New York (5.9), Connecticut (6.3), and Massachusetts (6.4).
Even states with the lowest rates experienced significant increases: New Jersey had an increase of 39%, New York about 44%, and Massachusetts about 64%.

In the last decade, suicide has become increasingly common among young people. There are theories on drivers, the rise of social media among them, but researchers say there are not enough data to draw conclusions. Suicide rates are not increasing in every country that has seen a rise in social media use.

Suicide prevention experts have lamented a lack of real-time data to better assess trends. The latest CDC report, for example, is based on deaths from 2018.

"We're making decisions about suicide prevention programming for 2021 and beyond based on data that are 3 years old," said Jonathan Singer, president of the American Association of Suicidology and associate professor at Loyola University's School of Social Work.

Possible factors driving the suicide rate

Public health experts are considering a variety of possible causes for the increase. From 2000 to 2007, the youth suicide rate was relatively stable. In late 2007, the country entered an economic recession.

"I don't think we can underestimate the role of the economic recession of 2008 on youth suicide rates," Singer said. "During the recession they saw their parents lose homes and jobs; they had to move schools. They lost friends. My concern is that we will see an increase in youth suicide several years down the line following the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic."

A CDC survey in August on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Americans' mental health found 75% of respondents 18-24 reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom. Twenty-five percent of respondents in this age group seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey.

Experts say stressors such as climate change, which has been found to have roughly the same effect on suicides as an economic recession, has become an increasing concern for young people. Fear of school shootings and the prohibitive cost of college may also be factors. Many children, experts say, are struggling to imagine their futures.

Spotty mental health screening, poor access to mental health services and stigma may also be obstacles to getting help to those considering suicide.

What's needed, Mueller said, is something akin to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which looked at a nationally representative sample of adolescents in grades 7 through 12 during the 1994-1995 school year and followed them into young adulthood. A study of this kind would help public health experts better understand what may be driving the increases and how best to intervene.

Children are vulnerable, but suicidal thoughts are not uncommon

Adolescence is a vulnerable time, experts say. It's when children are developing their sense of self — who they are and who they can be.

"As adults, we really rely on a core sense of who we are to get through some of those rough times in life. We pull a lot of stability out of that," Mueller said.

When kids hit adolescence, they experience so many changes at once, including puberty. Their environments often change as they enter high school, which is typically larger and less personal. These changes can weaken safety nets.
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Re: Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

Post by trader32176 »

COVID-19 and the risk of suicide ... t-20490350

The emotional and psychological impacts of the pandemic can lead to feelings of hopelessness and thoughts about suicide. Learn the signs and what to do.

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, you may experience anxiety, fear, frustration, sadness and loneliness — to the point that those feelings become constant and overwhelming. Existing mental health conditions, including severe anxiety and major depression, may worsen. If you're feeling hopeless and having thoughts about suicide, or you're concerned about someone else, learn how to find help and restore hope.

Major stressors related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Most often, suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can't cope or recover when you're faced with what seems to be an overwhelming life situation. There's little data yet on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the suicide rate. But clearly the pandemic has added intense emotional and mental stress to the lives of people around the world. Fear, anxiety and depression can stem from a wide range of concerns and experiences, from personal and family issues to work-related stress.

Personal and family concerns

Situations vary, but personal and family issues may include:

Fear that you or your loved ones will get COVID-19
No chance to be with and comfort your loved one who is seriously ill or dying in the hospital
Grief over the loss of a loved one to COVID-19 or another illness
Social isolation, especially if you live alone or in a facility where visitors are temporarily not allowed
Being in close quarters with family under stay-at-home orders, which could increase the risk of spouse, partner or child abuse
Starting or worsening of alcohol or drug misuse
Having other mental health disorders, such as major depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or an anxiety disorder

Work-related concerns

Depending on the type of job you have, examples of work-related issues include:

Anxiety due to working in a high-risk environment, such as in a hospital or nursing home, or being a first responder
Feeling overwhelmed working in crowded health care facilities that treat people with COVID-19, especially in places that may have a shortage of personnel and personal protective equipment
Feeling burned out and frustrated as a health care worker because you feel that you couldn't do enough for people with COVID-19 who died
Fear and anxiety about the increased risk of COVID-19 because you're an essential worker, such as a worker in the food or transportation industry, whose job requires serving the public in person
Worry about or actual loss of a job or business, causing financial hardship
Worry about how you'll provide basic needs for yourself and your family if you're out of work for an unpredictable amount of time or if you lose your job

Warning signs of suicide

Whether you're having thoughts of suicide or know someone who feels suicidal, learn suicide warning signs and how to reach out for immediate help and professional treatment. You may save a life — your own or someone else's.

Suicide warning signs or suicidal thoughts include:

Talking about suicide: for example, making statements such as "I'm going to kill myself" or "I wish I were dead"
Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
Withdrawing contact with others more than usual, even though staying at home may be recommended during the COVID-19 pandemic: for example, not responding to any type of communication from others, such as calls, texts or other messages
Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
Excessively using alcohol or drugs
Changing your normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there's no other need to do so
Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again
Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated

The unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, including little social interaction, may make it more challenging to identify those at risk of suicide. Warning signs aren't always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.

Reach out for help

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still reach out to others in a safe way and ask for help. Whether it's by phone, text or email or a trusted social media platform, don't be afraid to let others know that you're feeling overwhelmed and need support. At least get the conversation started.

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, get help right away by taking one of these actions:

Contact your doctor or a mental health professional to help you cope with suicidal thoughts.
Call a mental health crisis number or a suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 any time of day — press "1" to reach the Veterans Crisis Line or use Lifeline Chat.
Call 911 or your local emergency number.
Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

Even after the immediate crisis passes, seek help to get appropriate treatment for suicidal thoughts and feelings and learn effective coping strategies. Keep a list of resources and numbers readily available. On your list, include contact numbers for your doctors, mental health professionals and crisis centers, as well as trusted friends or loved ones.

When someone else is suicidal

If someone says he or she is thinking of suicide or behaves in a way that makes you think the person may be suicidal, don't play it down or ignore the situation. If you're concerned about a friend or loved one, consider these actions, depending on the situation:

Offer the person the opportunity to talk about his or her feelings, but keep in mind that it's not your job to substitute for a mental health professional.
Encourage the person to call a mental health crisis center or suicide hotline.
Encourage the person to seek professional treatment.
Urge him or her to find help from a trusted person, support group or faith community.
Offer to help the person find the necessary assistance and support, including staying with the individual until a safe environment can be arranged.

If someone is posting suicidal messages on social media, many sites such as Facebook or Instagram offer options on how to respond — search the site for "suicide" or "suicide prevention." In urgent situations, in the U.S. call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for help.

Prevention strategies

During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health issues need more attention to reduce the risk of suicide. Broadly, this means that public and private mental health services and individual providers need to be creative in finding, assessing and treating individuals at risk of suicide. This might include, for example, improving working conditions and providing more mental health services for workers on the front lines, encouraging scheduled breaks and taking time off, offering telehealth counseling, or providing food support and financial aid to those who have lost their jobs.

Individual action is important, too, especially during times when self-isolation and physical distancing are recommended. If you're concerned that someone is or might become depressed or suicidal:

Check in on a regular basis. Use phone calls, texting, video calls or other methods of messaging if physical distancing is needed — especially if the person has an existing mental health issue.
Offer to help with basic needs. For example, you might offer to pick up groceries or pharmacy items or connect the person with a delivery service or volunteer organization that can help.
Point out the importance of a daily routine. For example, suggest getting up and going to bed at the same time every day and having regular mealtimes.
Encourage physical activity. This might include for example, taking walks regularly, doing stretching exercises or gardening.
Encourage mental activity. Suggest activities that stimulate the mind. These might include, for example, learning a new skill or hobby by viewing a video online.
Suggest limiting the time spent reading the news. Negative news may spur anxiety. For updates on COVID-19, go to trusted websites such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Learn the warning signs of suicide. Learning what to watch for can help you determine when and if you need to take action to aid your loved one in getting through a mental health crisis.

You're not responsible for preventing someone from taking his or her own life — but your support and intervention may help the person see that other options are available to stay safe and get treatment.
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Re: Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

Post by trader32176 »

New data shows alarming surge in opioid-related overdoses during COVID-19

9/22/20 ... ID-19.aspx

In a paper published Friday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Virginia Commonwealth University researchers released data showing an alarming surge in opioid-related overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonfatal opioid overdose visits to the VCU Medical Center emergency department in Richmond increased from 102 between March and June 2019 to 227 between March and June 2020. That's an increase of 123%.

The overdose increase occurred during a time when the emergency room was experiencing a lower-than-average number of visits overall. March through June visits in 2020 were down 29% from the same time last year.

The study's lead author, Taylor Ochalek, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow at the VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, analyzed the 2019 and 2020 data from VCU Medical Center's emergency department.

"Social isolation, job loss, the inaccessibility of community resources -- these could all contribute to the overdoses we're observing," said Ochalek, who works in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the VCU School of Medicine.

Ochalek also examined demographic information for the opioid overdose patients. For both years, the patients mostly were male (70% in 2019 and 73% in 2020), and nearly half were uninsured (40% in 2019 and 44% in 2020). But the percentage of Black patients increased: from 63% in 2019 to 80% in 2020.

" Health disparities have been magnified during the pandemic. I hope this study provides a baseline of data for future research into reasons for the increase, mitigation efforts, longitudinal outcomes for patients and further overdose data."

-Taylor Ochalek, PhD, Study Lead Author and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, VCU School of Medicine

"This data is from the Richmond area, but it confirms what we're hearing anecdotally from across the U.S.," said F. Gerard Moeller, M.D., director of the Wright Center and director of the VCU Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies. "The pandemic is more than a crisis of one disease. Its ripple effects will be felt for some time in the form of secondary health impacts like addiction."

Collaborators on Ochalek's study are Kirk Cumpston, D.O., a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine; Brandon Wills, D.O., an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine; Tamas Gal, Ph.D., director of research informatics at the Wright Center; and Moeller.

"The numbers in this study are alarming, and it's important that health providers and community partners know what we're facing," said Peter Buckley, M.D., interim CEO of VCU Health System, interim senior vice president of VCU Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. "Studies like these will guide us in providing the best possible care to the Richmond community."

VCU Health provides referrals to treatment resources, such as clinics, rehabilitation centers and clinical trials, that direct overdose patients into individualized care. A majority receive prescriptions for naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug.
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Re: Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

Post by Howzitgoing »

Military Suicides up as Much as 20% in COVID Era
> Military suicides have increased by as much as 20% this year compared to the same period in 2019, and some incidents of violent behavior have spiked as service members struggle under COVID-19, war-zone deployments, national disasters and civil unrest.

The active Army's 30% spike — from 88 last year to 114 this year — pushes the total up because it's the largest service. The Army Guard is up about 10%, going from 78 last year to 86 this year. The Navy total is believed to be lower this year. The active duty Air Force and reserves had 98 suicides as of Sept. 15, unchanged from the same period last year. But last year was the worst in three decades for active duty Air Force suicides.

[More] ... -covid-era

Tim, tragic. Let various military leaders and healthcare specialists know about Campbell?

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy
Gen. James McConville, Army chief of staff
James Helis, director of the Army’s resilience programs
Gen. Charles Brown, Air Force
Roger Brooks, senior mental health specialist at the Wounded Warrior Project
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