Back in April, clinical psychological scientists at the University of Washington’s Center for the Science of Social Connection wrote about the “perfect storm of depression risks” posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, in September, as the daylight hours grow shorter and COVID-19-related challenges continue to impact our daily lives, those of us able to do so need to talk – about mental health and how we can help prevent suicide.
Why we’re concerned right now
The behavioral health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to climb and likely to peak in the coming months. Calls to behavioral health crisis lines are over 20% higher this year than at the same point in 2019. In addition to direct impacts from the COVID-19 disease, individuals and families are facing associated crises including high unemployment, food insecurity, evictions, social isolation, and other disruptions. Adding to these concerns, the rate of suicide in Washington State has been consistently higher than the national average for decades.
Call to action
HealthierHere joins the voices of Suicide Prevention Awareness month in encouraging our community to be aware of the warning signs of suicide and empowered to #BeThe1To help save a life. We can all play a role in helping to prevent suicide. The resources below are not intended to be comprehensive, but we hope they are useful to partners and community members working to learn, prepare and build a safer, healthier community for all.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), Crisis Connections at 866-427-4747, or call 911 immediately.*
If you are a healthcare provider who would like more training on suicide prevention, please check out the following resources:
- ‘All Patients Safe’ training from the University of WA (UW) AIMS Center. Available at no cost for WA providers through September 2021.
- Bree Collaborative Suicide Care webinar
- Zero Suicide toolkit
- Treating Suicidal Patients during COVID-19 from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- WA Dept. of Health Suicide Prevention training
- UW Forefront Suicide Prevention
If you are a community member and/or work in service to community, please consider visiting these resources:
- Washington State resources to support mental and emotional well-being
- Know the Signs
- Suicide prevention lifeline
- Identifying suicide risk factors
- Learn the Five Steps
- Stay Connected While Staying Home
- Saves Lives Suicide Prevention Training for Parents/Caregivers online training
*Please remember to dial 911 for emergencies only. If there is no immediate threat of harm to self or others and it is possible to do so, consider alternatives.