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Valley medical professionals raise awareness for Suicide Prevention Month

Andrea Kendall encourages anyone struggling to reach out.
Andrea Kendall encourages anyone struggling to reach out.(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 5:21 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - September is Suicide Prevention Month in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports suicide as the 10th leading cause of death overall before the pandemic.

Andrea Kendall, Licensed Clinical Social Worker with Augusta Health, says many who struggle with their mental health have faced new challenges in the last year and a half, as a lot of focus in health care turned to COVID-19.

“Folks were already in crisis for many reasons, and it’s gotten tremendously heightened with the pandemic while resources have gotten smaller, so I think there is a concern for those in our field that people are getting missed,” Kendall said.

She says she’s seen even more people struggling recently.

“In the past year, I’ve never quite seen the emergency room like it is now. I think the mental health pandemic that everyone is referring to is definitely here,” Kendall said.

Kendall says if you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, you should reach out for help. She says you can turn to a doctor or a loved one.

“It’s ok to tell me you’re having these thoughts. There’s a whole range of things we can do,” she said. “Anything we can do to get the conversation going.”

If you’re worried about someone close to you, she says you should ask them if they’re okay.

“There’s this conception that if I’m asking if you’re having suicidal thoughts I might make it happen, and that’s just not true,” she said.

To reach the suicide hotline, call 800-273-8255. If it’s an emergency, dial 911. For local resources, check out Augusta Health’s website.

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