VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — We all know life isn’t easy sometimes. The stress of the pandemic, along with other events along the way, can be especially hard on people.
Coastal Virginia Chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, wants people to know that they are not alone and there are resources in the community to help. This month, they are focusing on a topic that’s incredibly difficult to talk about: suicide.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. On average, 132 people die by suicide every day in the United States. Of those, nearly 19% are high schoolers. Nearly 12% are young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
“Really an important month since it is such a problem in our country,” said Susannah Uroskie, NAMI Coastal Virginia president.
Uroskie knows firsthand how challenging it can be to help a loved one with a mental illness after her daughter experienced mania and depression.
“Mental illness, serious mental illness, it is really — I’m getting choked up now — is really difficult,” said Uroskie. “So I’d say some compassion, empathy, just trying to understand more, educating themselves.”
With the pandemic, mental health is an even bigger issue, which is why NAMI Coastal Virginia is trying to raise awareness about the support and education they offer.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in calls to the office, people just want to know what can I do for my loved one,” said Uroskie. “The isolation that, you don’t have that in-person connection, whether that’s just seeing your friends or even you know in the office, seeing your coworkers. That really can affect everyone’s mental health.”
Uroskie says it’s important to pay attention to your kids, especially as school starts back up amid a pandemic.
For information on the programs, events, presentations and support groups NAMI offers, click here.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK.