A July 2020 CDC Report showed that a quarter of young adults had contemplated suicide during the pandemic.
“Many in our communities can become particularly overwhelmed when stress connected to a pandemic causes hopelessness,” said Suzanne Watson, CEO, Southwest Iowa Mental Health & Disability Services Region.
SWIA MHDS Region is available to provide stability and support to help those suffering from anxiety, stress, and suicidal thoughts feel better. “We know that people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone talks to them in a caring way. Acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts,” continued Watson.
There are ways to protect against suicidal thoughts and behaviors, such as support from family and community, or feeling connected. Reach out online, the HOPE4IOWA Crisis Call Line (available 24/7 for free at 844-673-4469). Connections are available through social media, video chat, or by phone. Access to in-person or virtual counseling or therapy can help with suicidal thoughts and behavior, particularly during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Southwest Iowa MHDS Region wants everyone to know that suicide is preventable and that many people find talking can alleviate painful suicidal thoughts and feelings. The Region remains dedicated to informing communities about the importance of suicide prevention every day of the year; it will increase efforts during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
SWIA MHDS Region efforts include sharing the resources the organization has available, including crisis services such as the HOPE4IOWA Crisis Call Line. HOPE4IOWA connects individuals in crisis to trained counselors who provide resources to address and help improve mental wellness.
“It is the vision of SWIA MHDS Region to serve the residents of our region by filling gaps in human services,” said Stephanie Grade, Clinical Specialist at the HOPE4IOWA Crisis Call Line. “Suicide can be prevented with multiple strategies that include comprehensive ways to help Iowa residents increase their access to various informal and formal supports.”
Grade said there are many suicide warning signs, and by recognizing individuals at higher risk, each one of us can help prevent suicide.
“Some signs might include talking about death or dying, significant changes in eating and sleeping habits, social withdrawal from friends and family, losing interest in activities, substance abuse, uncontrolled anger or agitation, and increased risky behaviors,” Grade said.
The HOPE4IOWA Crisis Call Line was established to improve mental wellness, hope and outcomes for residents of Southwest Iowa in times of crisis. Anyone can call the helpline phone number for free at 844-673-4469.