CDC grants Connecticut $3.5 Million for suicide prevention
Conn. (WTNH) — The pandemic has had a big impact on the mental health of people.
Experts fear the numbers of suicides could increase as people struggle with depression from losing a job, social isolation, and a disruption in normal life because of COVID-19.
“Now as we end October and move to November. It’s a witches brew of all three of the above; health economics, and social isolation,” said a worried Governor Ned Lamont during a news conference at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford.
Connecticut has one of the lowest rates of suicide in the United States – 10 per 100,000 people. Prior to the pandemic, 403 residents took their own lives between 2015 and 2019.
From January to October of this year, health officials report seven deaths due to suicide.
Experts fear the thousands of children learning remotely, have a loss of daily school structure and routine which causes stress.
Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes from the Department of Children and Families sadly knows the statistics are real. “Connecticut averages eight suicides of children under the age of 18 annually. We know we must collectively get that number to zero.”
There is hope. State officials announced they have received a five-year grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. $3.5 million for suicide prevention, which will be targeted at adolescents and young adults ages 10-24. Also, middle-aged adults, specifically men ages 35-65 with serious mental illness or substance abuse disorder.
Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon from the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services says “zero suicides is the goal.”
Stress plays out in many ways. Governor Lamont is keeping health options open.
“I promise you one thing on a personal note when it comes to mental health we are keeping parks and beaches open because man, I need that because that’s how I get my stress out,” added Lamont.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 2-1-1 or visit www.preventsuicidect.org.
Suicide Prevention Plan 2025 (PLAN 2025), which serves as the blueprint for the state’s suicide prevention efforts for the next five years. The plan is available at www.preventsuicidect.org/preventionplan.