In times of crisis, don’t forget to take care of yourself, and each other.
We’ve lately gotten used to hearing official messages about crisis mode. Those official messages often include some version of, “stay calm.” It’s easy to laugh mockingly at that kind of message (and I do, whenever Weekly Founder & CEO Bradley Zeve tells me to stay calm).
For a lot of people, it’s also easy to feel the full grip of despair when faced with that kind of message. One way to see that is the call volume at Suicide Prevention Service, operated by the Family Service Agency of the Central Coast. “Our numbers are up dramatically for the suicide hotline with the fires, Covid-19, etc.,” says Nancy Fash, assistant program director of development and operations.
Calls have nearly doubled in recent months, and the volunteer-run hotline is bracing for an even greater increase as crisis mode persists. As Fash puts it in an email: “Given the rapidly evolving situation, and as the current crisis exacerbates existing mental health concerns and limited access to in-person service providers, we project that our call volume will continue to increase, as it has in the previous months. The overall fear and anxiety prevalent in the population because of Covid-19, the fires, civil unrest and economic insecurities has hit particularly hard for those who are already in crisis or prone to experiencing anxiety, depression and mental health challenges.
“We expect this trajectory to continue for at least the short term and are committed to doing everything possible to support our community members in staying safe during this public health crisis.”
It all sounds dire, but there are opportunities to help those who are in need. Tomorrow, Sept. 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day and September is Suicide Prevention Month. One way to help is to volunteer. A 40-hour training (normally in-person, this year fully online) will begin Oct. 1; to learn more and to register, email email@example.com or call 831-459-9373.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, don’t hesitate to call the 24/7 hotline at 877-663-5433. And remember to take care of yourselves—and check in on each other.
-Sara Rubin, editor, firstname.lastname@example.org