Healthy Mind

Suicidal Ideation Is at an All-Time High Thanks to the Pandemic

Mary Grace Garis

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Photo: Getty Images/Dan Phan/EyeEm

A new CDC survey analyzing mental health, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation from late June reveals staggeringly high numbers of distress among certain communities in the United States. Most jarringly, 10.7 percent of respondents reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey. Those numbers were significantly higher among younger respondents age 18-24, marginalized racial groups, unpaid caregivers for adults, and essential workers.

For those who have been experiencing increased suicidal ideation, this highlights something very crucial: you are not alone. There are people out there that feel the same way, and there are people out there that are willing to help you. So let’s be very clear about what that help can look like.

When it comes to being in an immediate crisis mode, there’s always the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, and the Lifeline Crisis Chat. For LGBTQ folks, who are often more at risk for suicide—especially LGBTQ youth—it might help to dial the TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or check out Trevor Space, a digital support community. But suicidal ideation isn’t always about being in an immediate on-the-ledge emergency. Sometimes, it’s about being able to seek more longterm professional help so you can stabilize.

That isn’t easy, we know. Remember, there’s a big need to not only make therapy more accessible, affordable, and but also to decolonialize it and make it less white-centric. It’s worth noting that within the survey, more Hispanic (18.6 percent) and Black respondents (15.1) reported suicidal thoughts. If you want to talk it out with a professional, Open Path Collective has extremely affordable therapy in the $30 to $80 range, and Inclusive Therapists wants to connect you to someone who resonates to your unique identity, so you can truly be heard.

For those already in therapy or who want more mental health maintenance, a self-care app like Shine can help you prioritize daily (joyful) challenges that’ll keep you present and mobile. And for me, when I was at my lowest point I used this cute Booster Buddy app. While it does have a crisis mode, it’s mostly about checking in daily, doing healthy things for yourself, and being rewarded with coins to buy clothes for your animal avatar. Laugh at me all you want, but I navigated a paralyzing depressive episode and a horrifying break-up with my little fox friend.

These are just tiny suggestions for what is an ongoing mental health epidemic, and there’s no easy one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to taking care of your mental health. And yes, within the confines of lockdown life, this burden of hopelessness makes sense. But let this be a gentle reminder if pandemic has specifically shaken you: there is hope, there is good, and even when isolated, there’s always someone out there who wants to lift you up.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with a counselor online.

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