The sense of anxiety and uncertainty that comes with the pandemic is overwhelming to many people. A negative impact that COVID 19 has on mental health is profound. The high level of stress can lead some people to depressing thoughts.
Moreover, according to experts, coronavirus’s effects will be present in our lives for a long time. We still don’t know what’s going to happen, with the threat of another lockdown on the cards.
But how exactly do coronavirus and the risk of suicide connect, and what are the warning signs you should pay attention to? You’ll find the answers below.
Psychological Impact of COVID 19
The main reasons why depression and suicide rates have increased during the pandemic are the anxiety and sense of uncertainty that come with coronavirus. But how exactly does COVID 19 affect our psychological well-being?
First of all, because of the economic crisis, millions of people lost their jobs, and economists claim that the recovery will take some time. These two factors create a stressful financial situation for many Americans who lost their source of income.
Secondly, with the still restricted social life, many people feel lonely and isolated. A situation like that amplifies stress and anxiety, increases the risk of depression, and can even lead to suicidal thoughts.
What’s more, some people find it hard to cope with these kinds of situations because of the restrictions. The sales of alcohol have increased, which means more people self-medicate with alcohol. That can lead to auto-destructive behaviors.
Experts from Medicine Direct say: “when you combine the financial stress with anxiety that comes with social isolation, you get an incredibly dangerous mix, especially for people who suffer from mental illnesses”. Basically, if you know people who find coping with such situations challenging, you have to be extremely careful with them.
People always say that it’s difficult to notice whether a person has suicidal thoughts. But certain behaviors indicate whether someone has severe depression. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention gives a few examples:
- talk of suicide, hopelessness, not being able to find a reason to live
- increased alcohol and drug consumption
- withdrawal from usual activities
- isolating from loved ones
- sudden mood changes (e.g., from relief to anger)
As you can see, these are the examples of behaviors you can notice almost immediately, especially if you know the other person well. But there are also less obvious ways of telling whether a person can have suicidal thoughts, such as changes in sleeping patterns, accessing lethal means, emotional distance, and physical pain.
Such behaviors can be easy to miss. But if you start to notice them in someone you know, you need to take immediate action. You must know how to approach the subject, though.
When it comes to suicide prevention, you need to act as soon as you notice any potential suicidal behaviors in another person’s life. Keep in mind that you have to take things seriously and with high awareness. Every word you say and action you take may affect the way another person behaves.
The first thing you need to do is have an honest conversation with them. It’s much more challenging than many people think since you never know how the other person will react. Start with saying you’re concerned about their behavior, or ask whether everything is fine. And keep in mind, the sooner, the better.
Being there for another person is crucial. Show them that you care about their mental health and that they can always count on you. Under no circumstances can you leave the person alone.
But what if they start threatening that they’ll kill themselves? Then you should contact the authorities. Call 000 and get in touch with the national suicide prevention hotline.
The most important thing when it comes to preventing suicide, though, is to act quickly. You have to take the necessary steps as soon as you notice something is wrong, and not just by yourself. You should involve as many people as possible if you want to make sure your actions are effective.
Suicide rates may not have risen significantly during the COVID 19 pandemic, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care. Coronavirus brought a sense of loneliness, stress, and anxiety to our lives, which often leads to depression and suicide.
That’s why we need to be concerned and look for any signs of suicidal behaviors among our loved ones, especially if they have mental health problems. Act quickly as soon as you notice the warning signs, and involve as many people as possible.
And if you feel that radical actions need to be taken, contact the authorities and seek help from specialists. Most importantly, though, be there for another person.