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How to help prevent COVID-19 related suicides

Posted at 9:31 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 22:38:55-04

CAPE CORAL, FLA — The founder of the Sterling Center in Fort Myers says, Jamie Sterling, says this is a time when mental health needs to be monitored as closely as possible.

"Anytime your basic needs are compromised, which is your job, or the simple things of going to the store and not finding what you need creates a sense of panic," said Sterling, "That's what creates the feelings that turn into suicidal ideation."

And not just your own.

"Don't mind your own business, do not. This is the time where if you see something or hear somebody that's struggling, you need to be proactive, you need to help," said Sterling.

Sterling says if you do notice that someone is having a rough time, the best thing to do is to create a casual, but genuine connection.

"You may send a text a to that person and say 'Hey, I'm so bored, do you want to do a texting trivia?'" said Sterling.

She adds that some other ways to improve the mental well-being of yourself or others is to limit negative information, set boundaries for people who have a negative impact on your life, and to try to create structure for yourself while isolating at home.

However, she says that if you think someone you know made need some help, there are a few options.

In the long-term, they can always contact places like her center.

But if they need immediate help, here's what you need to do:

"Somebody needs to be contacted to do a well-check. The sheriff and the police department, they do them all the time, they just make sure the person is okay, said Sterling.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts and needs help, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.