Emergency responders in New Hampshire say suicide-related 911 calls are spiking amid the coronavirus pandemic and it’s getting even worse as we head into the stressful holiday season.
“The calls are coming in and they’re coming in at a rate that we’ve not seen before,” said Mark Doyle who is the Director of the New Hampshire Division of Emergency Services.
Doyle says call centers are currently experiencing an alarming increase in the number of suicide-related 911 calls that started in early November.
It doesn’t surprise Dr. Douglas Jacobs, who is a national suicide expert and psychiatrist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts.
“Not at all and it’s important we’re doing this story,” he said in an interview with NBC10 Boston on Sunday.
Jacobs says combine the typical stress of the holidays with the isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic, and people are at their breaking point.
“The CDC recently discovered there’s been a double increase in the reporting of suicidal ideations,” Jacobs explained. “During this pandemic we know there’s been isolation, we know there has been increasing financial stress, unemployment, and these are all risk factors.”
Jacobs says there are some easy things to do that will help everyone with our mental health:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat nutritious foods
- Avoid drugs and excessive alcohol use
- Take a screen time break
But for anyone spiraling out of control or witnessing a loved one heading down a dark path, Doyle says don’t hesitate to dial 911.
“It is always here for them, we will do whatever we can to get them the help they need, whenever and wherever they need it,” Doyle said.
Coronavirus in New Hampshire
Both Doyle and Jacobs say the most important piece of advice is to take action if you have a concern.
SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: Here is information on suicide prevention from the National Institute of Mental Health. If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741.