Ongoing stresses related to the COVID-19 pandemic – financial constraints, unemployment and isolation – have caused a national spike in suicide.
Patricia Rehmer, MSN, ACHE, president of the Behavioral Health Network and senior vice president of Hartford HealthCare (HHC), said national sources estimate up to 75,000 people will die by suicide as a direct result of the pandemic that is still upending lives, employment and socializing in most parts of the country.
Locally, she said, the Behavioral Health Network (BHN) continues to see increased numbers of people “looking for support” during an unsettling time. The BHN warmline (888.984.2408) fields many calls each day, she said.
“It’s connected to the social issues people are confronting,” she explained as part of a recent HHC daily media briefing.
Signs of depression include:
- Feeling sad, negative, hopeless, inadequate.
- Sleeping too much or not enough.
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions.
- Anxiety or feeling stressed.
- Weight loss or gain.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Anyone feeling overwhelming sadness or despair, whether related to the COVID-19 pandemic or not, for more than two weeks should seek professional help, she said. BHN experts are seeing existing and new patients through telehealth and virtual visits or in person at facilities across the state.
“The most important thing is to give people hope. This will change. There are supports out there. And you will feel better,” Rehmer said.
The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network is now scheduling virtual-health visits for mental health and addiction services. Call your provider for details. New patients can schedule a virtual visit by calling 1.888.984.2408.
For more information on the programs and services available through the Behavioral Health Network, click here.
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