Are you sad, or are you depressed?

 The COVID-19 pandemic may be stressful for many people, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC).

 The Times receives local medical emergency alerts and incident reports from local police departments. Earlier this week, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office reported that deputies responded to a home in Oxford for a reported family trouble. The 26-year-old son was intoxicated and threatening to assault his father. Deputies learned that the son had a shotgun and was possibly suicidal. Eventually, the son surrendered the firearm and he was taken to the hospital for an evaluation.

 This report and a few others similar prompted the Times to reach out to area police agencies to see if there was any correlation between the pandemic stress and restrictions and the mental health of their residents.

 Fenton Police Chief Jason Slater checked their records and found them to be “pretty consistent.” In 2019, from March to November, police received reports of six attempted suicides and two suicides. In 2020, from March to November, they recorded five attempted suicides and two suicides.

 “Since the pandemic began, we have noticed increased calls for service to check on mentally unstable persons in our community,” Slater said. “Through contacts, we have assisted in getting these individuals mental health treatment through mainly voluntary means.”

 According to the CDC, public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.

 Stress regarding this pandemic can sometimes cause the following:

• Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on

• Changes in sleep or eating patterns

• Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

• Worsening of chronic health problems

• Worsening of mental health conditions

• Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances

 Holly Police Chief Jerry Narsh said, “There’s no way to accurately measure the connection other than to say we have seen an increase in family trouble, attempted suicide, depression and mental health related calls during the late spring and early summer while people were impacted the most from COVID unemployment and shut downs.”

 Narsh added that for those amongst us who suffer from depression and mental health issues, adding a pandemic that instantly affects your employment and restricts your movement will almost always create more Stress and depression.

 “We are restricted from social gatherings, but we are not restricted from using all means of social media to have routine connections with those suffering the most,” Narsh said. “Call them, text them or better yet Facetime them if you are able. Reach out and encourage family and friends in your circle. Don’t assume everyone is doing okay, assume they are not and make a connection. We need to stay connected to stay strong. 

 “These are the ghost victims of COVID management.  They may never test positive, but their lives are being destroyed by the disease and the cure.”

 Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said their records indicate attempted suicides and suicides have slightly decreased since 2018. For example, in 2018, the sheriff’s office recorded 529 adults and 16 juveniles attempted suicide, and 41 adults and two juveniles committed suicide. In 2019, 576 adults and 11 juveniles attempted suicide, and 26 adults and two juveniles committed suicide. In 2020, 461 adults and 16 juveniles attempted suicide and 27 adults and one juvenile committed suicide.

 Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy said, “We have noticed an increase in mental health type calls.”

 A mental health crisis can take many forms — self-harm, panic attacks, suicidal ideation, getting in trouble with the law, planning or considering hurting one’s self or others — but no matter what kind of crisis someone might be going through, you can help, according to National Alliance on Mental illness (NAMI). Make sure to stay with your loved one while they’re at risk and do not hesitate to get them professional help.

Reach out for help

 If you feel that you are not able to de-escalate the person in crisis without additional support, call someone. You don’t need to do this alone. If your loved one has a mental health provider, that would be a good place to start. If they don’t, there are organizations who can help you through any crisis safely.

Here are a few resources you can contact 24/7:

• Call 911 if the crisis is a life – threatening emergency.

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor.

• Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive crisis support via text message.

• National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE (7233) to speak with trained experts who provide confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information.

• National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area that offers access to a range of free services. Crisis chat support is also available at Online Hotline.

Source: National Alliance on Mental illness (NAMI.org)

How to help

someone in crisis

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