February 17, 2021

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The New York Times has a story today about the excess numbers of deaths over the past year- 500,000 by January 31, 2021. This means half a million people have died the past year compared to prior years. Most of those undoubtedly were from COVID-19, but many others were from heart attacks, untreated problems like diabetes, murders, suicides, or unintentional deaths.

2020 was a wild year and 2021 is off to a rough start. The promise of effective vaccines has been disrupted by slow supply chains and scheduling glitches. Many people are struggling financially, others are in mourning, some work from home but are challenged because they miss community and struggle with virtual communication. Others are using their drugs of choice more than they intend to. Loneliness adds to despair, as does loss of livelihoods. And now comes the weather disrupting the power grid and threatening lives with the bitter cold.

These struggles add up and people are feeling it. Stress added upon stress. My patients are showing their pain, struggling with anxiety and despair. We need to be kind to each other and ourselves. Now more than ever.

If you have loved ones that you haven’t heard from in a while, reach out and check in. You may be a lifeline.

I have lots of links and resources listed below. One App that I suggest to my patients is called “Covid Coach”. It is a free App from the VA that gives help for anxiety and mood, as well as resources. It is excellent.

Remember, you are not alone, even though you feel like it at times. The King County Health Department has great info supporting mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has resources. The Seattle NAMI has local resources.

The Crisis Text Line can give immediate help, and Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available.

We are all in this together and we are slowly working our way out of this spot. Keep helping and supporting each other. Share resources. And please don’t forget to look for joy.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six. Check in with each other and share these resources listed below as needed.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/01/14/us/covid-19-death-toll.html

https://publichealthinsider.com/2021/02/04/new-report-shows-increases-in-cardiovascular-diabetes-unintentional-injury-deaths-as-well-as-homicides-in-king-county/

https://mobile.va.gov/app/covid-coach

https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/support.aspx

https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Infographics/NAMI-You-Are-Not-Alone-FINAL.pdf

https://www.crisistextline.org

https://www.nami.org/Home

http://namiseattle.org/covid-19/

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

https://www.clinicaladvisor.com/home/topics/psychiatry-information-center/suicide-prevention-in-the-context-of-covid-19/