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Report: Michigan suicides will rise 32% amid pandemic

A new report from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services predicts Michigan will experience a "mental health crisis."

MICHIGAN, USA — The coronavirus pandemic has added stress on people's lives and because of that stress, there could be an increase of suicides in Michigan. 

A new report from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services predicts Michigan will experience a "mental health crisis" and see an increase of 32 % more suicides. 

“Due to the swift emergence of the disease and its sweeping impact on our lives and economy, we’re experiencing a rise in many of the stressors that are known to increase risk for suicide,” said Mark Eastburg, Ph.D., president and CEO of Pine Rest, and one of seven authors of the report.

The report looks into previous epidemics, including the 2003 SARS outbreak in Asia. 

Some of the factors for an increased rate of suicide according to the report include isolation, unemployment, economic distress, increased substance use, physical health problems and increased access to guns. 

“We can and must take immediate steps to improve access to care through awareness, affordability, telehealth technology and workforce development,” said Eastburg. “We also need to work with policymakers and the healthcare community to fix gaps in critical behavioral health infrastructure.”

There are resources both through the state of Michigan and nationally for mental health support. 

Earlier this month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Stay Home, Stay Mindful website.The website was made in partnership with Headspace, an online health care company, specializing in meditation. Michigan also offers a statewide mental health warmline for support at 888-PEER-753 (888-733-7753). 

There is also a National Suicide Prevention Hotline that is free and available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

The full report from Pine Rest can be found at www.pinerest.org/COVID19-Report.

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