TOMS RIVER – September is Suicide Prevention Month and this year, the theme is “Be the One to Help Save a Life.” The Ocean County Health Department wants everyone to help spread awareness and promote prevention groups and more.
Over the past year, the COVID-19 crisis has impacted us all in so many ways and one of the biggest concerns has been the effect on people’s mental health. Many public health officials have seen a rise in the number of people experiencing anxiety, depression, psychosis, loneliness and other mental health concerns which can lead to thoughts of suicide.
About 60 percent of people that died by suicide have had a mood disorder and depression. The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) states that in 2019, Ocean County ranked second in New Jersey for suicide death (64 suicide deaths) and was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
“Many of the warning signs of suicidal feelings are also signs of depression,” Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer, said. “Depression can cause someone to feel worthless, hopeless and a burden on others. Those feelings may only be exacerbated by some of the stresses brought about by dealing with the last 18 months or so of the pandemic.”
“There have been so many stressful decisions, risks and predicaments people have had to manage on a daily basis that it can just wear you down,” Kimberly Reilly, OCHD Alcohol and Drug Abuse Unit Coordinator, said. “Whether it’s someone depressed about finances; or a person with disabilities that feels anxious over being a burden to others; a struggling student trying to cope with the changes and challenges of school; losing or caring for a loved due to COVID; and other distress related to the pandemic.”
Warning Signs of Suicide:
- Talking about wanting to die
- Showing rage or speaking of revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious, agitated, or recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
What to Do:
- Do not leave the person alone
- Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Take the person to an emergency room, or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
During Suicide Prevention Month, everyone working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope.
“We’ve all been through so much during the pandemic but each of us handle the stress, pressure, depression and the many mixes of emotions uniquely in our own way. If you feel overwhelmed by these feeling, or may recognize them in others, don’t hesitate, and find help. It’s ok to share these feelings with the people that love and care for you. And most importantly, share them with a mental health care professional,” Reilly said.
For more information, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call or text the following:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line: Text “NJ” to 741741
- Family Helpline: 1-800-843-5437
- Mental Health Hotline: 866-202-4357
- Veteran’s Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1
For additional information regarding National Suicide Prevention Month, mental health or the Ocean County Health Department visit ochd.org.