We’re talking COVID-19, mental health, and suicide prevention this week on WCLK's The Local Take. I reached out to Roland Boehm from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Over the last year, it seems many of us have been on a roller coaster of emotions: depression, anxiety, and more. Consumption of alcohol was rising, and concerns about abusive relationships during the lockdown have been top of mind. Suicide ideation in young people was said to increase during this time. While it seems overall suicide may be down, in several demographics, suicide rose.
I ask Roland Boehm to tell us about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He mentions their five pillars: Research, Education, Healing Conversation, and Advocacy. He speaks to some demographics having a more challenging time dealing with the isolation from the Pandemic. He talks about young people missing schools, which are a place for connectedness. Additionally, schools are a resource for behavioral health resources. But schools were locked down.
Boehm advises that if someone seeks assistance from you due to suicidal thoughts, you shouldn’t panic but thank them for reaching out. Ask questions, be empathetic and help them get resources. Help might involve guiding them to a hospital emergency room or reaching out to the AFSP for culturally relevant resources.