TAMPA, Fla. — The coronavirus pandemic has brought stress, anxiety, isolation and feelings of uncertainty into many people's lives, and for some, it feels like there is no end in sight.
All those feelings are definitely taking a toll on our mental health. World Suicide Prevention Day is a day to find help and hope.
The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is taking a real-time look at the problem. They compared suicide calls from June to September of last year to this year and said they are up 17 percent.
Not only that, but the calls also went from an average of seven minutes to 15-20 minutes.
Clara Reynolds is the president and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. She says the pandemic has brought up people's anxiety and fears about not knowing what could be next.
"We really had to unpack the financial concerns and stress and then really get to the root concerns around the depression, anxiety, concerns and fears around the unknown. All of that, and that, has just continued throughout the last six months," Reynolds said.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness in Hillsborough County says it is seeing similar issues. They used to deal only with people who were directly affected by a diagnosed mental illness.
Natasha A. Pierre is the executive director and says they are really seeing the pandemic's impact on people's mental health.
"Since the pandemic, we're seeing people experiencing mental health challenges that have nothing to do with a diagnosis. They're experiencing the signs of stress and frustration and anxiety that comes along with living in very uncertain, unpredictable times," Pierre said.
Pierre says the key is to getting through those feelings or helping someone having those feelings: giving them hope and reminding them they are not alone.
"We want to empower hope in our county and our community and if people can believe that tomorrow might be better, we have a chance at reducing that suicide rate until it's down to none," Pierre said.
NAMI Hillsborough offers many ways to get help if you are struggling to deal with all of the anxiety and uncertainty with support groups and classes.
However, if you are really struggling and thinking about suicide, do not wait to reach out for help. You can reach the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay by dialing 211, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273- TALK.
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