Lincoln – Infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, as well as other public health events, can cause emotional distress and anxiety. Feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed or powerless is common during an epidemic or pandemic. These feelings of distress and anxiety can occur even if you are not at high risk of getting sick.
However, as COVID-19 spreads on, secondary outcomes of the pandemic—such as economic stress—are colliding with depression and a rising suicide risk. Suicide is a tragic reaction to a stressful life situation. It may seem like there’s no way to solve your problem or address your pain, but reaching out can help you regain your perspective and help you cope with life better.
“No matter how much pain you’re experiencing right now, you’re not alone,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Feeling suicidal doesn’t mean that you are weak or flawed. It only means that you feel hopeless in the moment. There is a way back to feeling normal again and there are people who want to help you get there. With time and support, you can overcome your problems and the pain and help keep you safe. If you, a loved one, or someone you know feels suicidal, please seek help immediately. Let’s save the lives of Nebraskans.”
Warning signs of suicide include:
- Increased alcohol and drug use
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Aggressive and/or anxious behavior
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawal from friends, family and community
- Dramatic mood swings
- Impulsive or reckless behavior
Suicidal behaviors are a psychiatric emergency. If have a friend or loved one engaged in any of the following, of if you recognize these symptoms in yourself, please seek help:
- Giving away possessions
- Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- If you are near any items that you are thinking about using to hurt yourself, put them away and out of reach. If you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking drugs, stop. It will only make you feel more out of control.
- To keep yourself from feeling suicidal, get the help and treatment you need, build your support network with friends, family, your minister or pastor, and support groups.Take one step at a time.
Warning signs aren’t always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret. Just like signs of a stroke or heart attack, know the warning signs of suicide to save a life. Mental Health First Aid and Question, Persuade, Prefer (QPR) classes teach participants how to interact with a person who is suicidal. The next sessions are as follows:
- Mental Health First Aid virtual session will be held on Dec.15. For more information or to register, visit https://events.r20.
constantcontact.com/register/ eventReg?oeidk= a07egu2ksoe857aebb2&oseq=&c=& ch
- Question, Persuade, Refer course will be held January 8 at noon. For more information or to register, visit https://events.r20.
constantcontact.com/register/ eventReg?oeidk= a07eh1t1ys6ca6a8913&oseq=&c=& ch
- A youth-focused Mental Health First Aid course will be held on January 12. For more information or to register, visit https://events.r20.
constantcontact.com/register/ eventReg?oeidk= a07eh1t65zd62a10b66&oseq=&c=& ch
If someone is imminently threatening suicide and has the access and the means to do so, call 911.
Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis?
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish.
- Nebraska Family Helpline, (888) 866-8660. They can engage Crisis Response Teams
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116