HOUSTON – Suicides and depression are another side effect from the coronavirus pandemic, psychologists from Menninger Clinic say. There have been more calls to crisis hotlines in the country than ever before.
“Feeling at the end of their rope and so isolated without any means of soothing themselves,” explained Dr. Cory Walker of the Menninger Clinic.
In September, Menninger Clinic and Sgt. Kevin Briggs teamed up to help end the stigma and help families take action to save lives. Briggs has spent 10 years talking people off the Golden Gate Bridge — sometimes up to six times a month.
Both Briggs and Walker agree that if reaching out to a loved one first doesn’t provoke a response, call police for a welfare check.
“We may not friends for some time, but we will be closer in the long run. That’s how it works because they know that you cared once they get past that,” Briggs said.
But before it gets there, how can you identify someone who is contemplating suicide?
Here’s what to look for according to Dr. Walker:
- Talking about death or overmedicating
- Stockpiling guns or pills
- Easily upset or agitated
- Suddenly and unexpectedly seeming at peace or sounding like they’re making plans
“'If something happens to me would you take care? Would you take my dog in for example?'” Walker said of comments someone who might be contemplating suicide might say. “Or ‘my parents are elderly and they really think highly of you, would you keep in touch with them if we weren’t friends’ or something like that. Trying to feel out and make arrangements for their eventual death.”
Here’s how they can start to find help, call the Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-talk or you can text 741-741.
“For me personally, I like having folks come back on their own because it takes a lot of courage to go over that rail in the beginning,” Briggs said. “I think it takes even more courage to come back and face everything.”