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Promote Suicide and Severe Depression Awareness
(Toms River) – The COVID-19 crisis has impacted us all in so many ways since it began and one of the biggest concerns has been the effect on people’s mental health. Throughout the pandemic, public health officials have witnessed a cautioning rise in the number of individuals experiencing anxiety, depression, psychosis, loneliness, and other mental health concerns which can lead to thoughts of suicide.
Although the majority of people who have depression do not die by suicide, having major depression does increase suicide risk compared to people without depression. Approximately 60% of people that died by suicide have had a mood disorder and depression. In 2019, Ocean County ranked second in New Jersey for suicide death (64 suicide deaths) and was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).
“Many of the warning signs of suicidal feelings are also signs of depression,” said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “Depression can cause someone to feel worthless, hopeless and a burden on others. Those feelings may only be exacerbated by some of the stresses brought about by dealing with the last 18 months or so of the pandemic.”
“There have been so many stressful decisions, risks and predicaments people have had to manage on a daily basis that it can just wear you down,” added, Kimberly Reilly, OCHD Alcohol and Drug Abuse Unit Coordinator. “Whether it’s someone depressed about finances; or a person with disabilities that feels anxious over being a burden to others; a struggling student trying to cope with the changes and challenges of school; losing or caring for a loved due to Covid; and other distress related to the pandemic.”
Warning Signs of Suicide:
What to Do:
Suicide Prevention Month is all about everyone working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope. Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way. That’s why this year’s theme to Ask, Be There, Keep Them Safe, Help Them Stay Connected and Follow Up is so important in finding ways that we can all pitch in and help reduce save someone from feelings of despair and suicide.
Reilly added, “We’ve all been through so much during the pandemic but each of us handle the stress, pressure, depression and the many mix of emotions uniquely in our own way. If you feel overwhelmed by these feeling, or may recognize them in others, don’t hesitate, and find help. It’s ok to share these feelings with the people that love and care for you. And most importantly, share them with a mental health care professional.”
For more information, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call or text the following:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text “NJ” to 741741
Family Helpline: 1-800-843-5437
Mental Health Hotline: 866-202-4357
Veteran’s Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1
For additional information regarding National Suicide Prevention Month, mental health or the Ocean County Health Department please visit www.ochd.org or follow the Health Department on Twitter@OCpublichealth or like the Health Department on Facebook.