BRITT, Iowa - The pandemic has made life harder for all of us. Feelings of isolation and anxiety can spiral out of control. That scenario can lead to dispair or even suicide.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 40% of adults in the United States reported struggling with mental illness or substance abuse in June. 11% seriously considered suicide.
Hancock County Health System says they've seen a significant increase in the number of patients seeking treatment for mental problems, which is why it is so important to know the signs of someone contemplating suicide.
"If people are talking about taking their life. If they're having extreme mood swings. If they are talking about feeling hopeless or worthless or being a burden to their family," said therapist Jillian Carpenter, explaining a few of the signs.
Sleep issues and an increase in the use of drugs or alcohol are also red flags. Carpenter says if you think someone might be suicidal, you need to act quickly.
Don't hesitate to call 9-1-1 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can even go to a local hospital.
According to Carpenter, therapy and possibly medication could get a patient feeling better.
"The first thing we would want to do is have a safety plan in place. Knowing who they can go to if they are feeling suicidal. Activities, things they can do to occupy their time," she said.
The people most impacted by the pandemic are seniors. 5% of the patients in the hospital's Senior Life Solutions Program said they're feeling lonely and sad.
"They don't have anywhere to go. They need to isolate and it's very difficult for them. They become lonely, have to give up a lot their independance. Going out with their friends," said program director Heidi Metz.
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is staffed 24 hours a day and it is confidential. The number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).