Teen Suicide Prevention and the Coronavirus Pandemic

Lou
Kotsinis

Among the many challenges we now face as a result of COVID-19, maintaining mental health and well-being may rank as one of the most pressing.

Individuals who were already grappling with issues such as anxiety, substance abuse and depression may now find their circumstances exacerbated by quarantine and lockdown measures. Indeed, mental health professionals foresee increased rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, loneliness and depression.

Although no one is immune to the effects of the pandemic on their mental health, teens at risk of suicide are especially vulnerable. Going into COVID-19, New Jersey teens were already facing a mental health crisis, with 100 youths dying by suicide in 2017. Now, increased social isolation and stress caused by the Coronavirus are adding pressure to an already difficult situation.

To help counter these effects, BCS Interactive has partnered with the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris to create Stop Teen Suicide and You Are Not Alone, digital campaigns to:

1. Reach out to at-risk teens and let them know there’s help if they need it.

2. Provide resources to parents, teachers and friends of at-risk youth, inform them of the warning signs and importantly, offer suggestions on what to say (and not say) to kids in need.

3. Emphasize the notion that there is a safe, non-judgmental place for teens to turn, and that they are indeed not alone.

COVID-19 has made the prevention of teen suicide and the maintenance of overall mental health harder–but not impossible–if we all take some time to spread the word and help support one and other.

That’s why I’m asking that you please share these tools far and wide; visit stopteensuicide.mhaessexmorris.org and youarenotalone.mhaessexmorris.org to learn more about teen suicide prevention, and follow the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to discover more of the crucial mental health services that MHAEM provides to the residents of New Jersey.

Our collective mental health is now more important than ever, but teens in particular will need an extra helping hand. Let’s extend our hands and our hearts to them.

Wishing you safety, security and above all, health in every way.

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Lou Kotsinis

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