USA (MNN) — Suicide may be an unintended consequence of lockdowns and social distancing meant to contain the coronavirus pandemic. A new U.S. study outlines seven factors related to the COVID-19 crisis that increase suicide risk. Economic stress, social isolation, and decreased access to support systems are high on the list.
Many mental health agencies have started offering their services through video conferencing. Earlier this week, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services launched a “warmline” to help people with mental health issues cope during this difficult time.
Based in West Michigan, Set Free Ministries brings God’s healing to hurting people through biblical counseling and training. Executive Director Dean Vander Mey says, “We’re really busy right now. There’s a lot of stress, a lot of fear; there’s a lot of anxiety.”
Managing mental health during a lockdown
A nationwide poll conducted in March found 55-percent of adults say the coronavirus crisis has affected their mental health either a “great deal” or “some.” Most respondents fear the pandemic will negatively affect the U.S. economy. As described here, local psychologists and physiatrists use telehealth to meet patients’ mental health needs.
Set Free Ministries recently purchased dozens of laptops to equip remote-based volunteers. “We’re getting [resources] in their hands so that they can be a part of helping all the people that are calling into Set Free,” Vander Mey says.
Each session involves different circumstances and action plans, but Vander Mey says the solution remains the same.
“This is a real crisis. We’re not saying it’s not a crisis. But let’s put it in perspective of who God is and what He says He’s able to do.”
Beginning with a “freedom appointment,” trained volunteers talk in-detail with the individual requesting help. Using the Steps to Freedom in Christ process outlined by Christian author Neil Anderson, volunteers journey with people from oppression to freedom. Learn more here.
Where to turn for help
More than 95% of the U.S. population is under a state or local order to stay at home except for necessary errands. As described here, the long-term effects of social distancing will hit certain populations harder than others:
“…healthcare workers who are on the frontline, young people under 30 and children, the elderly and those in precarious situations, for example, owing to mental illness, disability, and poverty.”
It’s a stressful season with no end in sight. If you need to talk to someone, connect with Set Free Ministries here.
“We’re here to help. We have lots of volunteers that want to help those who are stressing right now,” Vander Mey says.
“We’ll overcome this. Just pray and encourage one another with truth.”
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