Page 10 - Healthcare News SepOct 2021
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  MHA’s Alane Bur- gess (left) and Kristy Navarro say social isola- tion during the pandemic has been problem- atic for young people.
Danger Zone
Suicide Prevention Takes on A New Urgency During Pandemic
By Mark Morris affected basic needs such as food — as evidenced by shortages in grocery stores — as well as the ability to sleep well, employment security, and freedom
ccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Preven- to move around wherever and whenever we want.
tion, the national suicide rate declined slightly in 2019, At the same time, she has seen people spend more time with their family, the last year for which full statistics are available. increase their fitness by taking walks to get outside, and improve their diets
Unfortunately, the latest government data does not by eating more at home.
take into account the arrival of COVID-19 early in 2020. “These protective factors work to actually decrease the risk of suicide,”
But area mental-health professionals know what they’re seeing and hearing Hichborn said. “When we go through something as a community, we feel a almost 20 months into the pandemic. kind of connectedness, which also helps decrease suicide risk.”
Amanda Hichborn, director of Outpatient Clinical Services for River Valley However, she was quick to point out that, while we may all be in this
  Counseling Center’s Westfield office, said the impact of COVID has in some ways been a double-edged sword when it comes to suicide risk.
“The risk factors for suicide have definitely increased,” she said. “At the same time, we’ve also seen protective factors that have come into play.”
On top of fears about our health, Hichborn explained, the pandemic also
together, we’re not all in the same boat.
“Vulnerable groups like disenfranchised people were already struggling
with basic needs,” she said. “Throw the pandemic on top of it, and their needs are impacted tenfold.”
Young people in particular have had a tough time with the pandemic.

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