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September is Suicide Prevention Month and National Recovery Month

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Human Resources

This month, we recognize two vital conversations in essential suicide prevention and substance use recovery.

Suicide Prevention Month

The continuing extended isolation and economic hardship that has engulfed the country due to the Coronavirus pandemic has had a large impact on mental health, which is reflected in surges in depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. This article from the Boston Herald highlights the increase in calls and texts to suicide support lines since March 2020.  Isolation also makes it harder for family members and friends to support and check in on those they are most concerned about and can complicated planning safety measures.

Determining whether suicide as a cause of death has increased this year will take some time, but there is already worry about an ongoing surgeDeath rates for people of color have skyrocketed as well in the US since the onset of CoronavirusIt's hypothesized that rates of suicide, often under-reported and under-researched for people of color, have risen as well. The dual stressors of the pandemic and systemic racism have experts worried about rises in black suicide rates, especially for teenagers.  The CDC published the results of a study from 2019 highlighting statistics in suicidal ideation and attempts in teenagers. Suicide is currently the second highest cause of death for high-school aged people.  This article from Today.com gives advice on how to talk to kids about depression and suicide. Open and honest conversations about these topics can save lives. 

In light of these trends, we felt it is important to take the time to highlight resources for safety and support.  Below is a list of organizations that contain helpful information and resources.

National Recovery MontH

Rates of alcohol and drug abuse have risen substantially since the onset of the pandemic, reports ranging from 20% to over 100% increase as highlighted in this AARP article

Alcohol use and drug use not only impact mental health and stability, they lower the vitality of your immune system and can greatly increase the risk of serious illness, a grave concern during a pandemic. So much of maintaining sobriety is rooted in peer, family, and professional support, and the obstacles of isolation and social distancing have impacted all these supports.

Isolation, boredom, frustration, and anxiety all contribute to increased substance use as an escape, as highlighted in this article. For those continuing to maintain their recovery from substance use, or those looking to start again, we wanted to highlight a list of major peer and professional support services that offer remote connections. 

As always, please reach out to us here at the City of Boston Employee Assistance Program for immediate support and assistance. Be sure to check out our COVID-19 Resource List for more articles on staying safe in 2020.