Researchers Predict Sharp Uptick In Mental Health Issues; Explain How to Get Help

For months, doctors have been tackling COVID-19’s physical risks and symptoms.

Now, researchers are studying its invisible effects on mental health.

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The cover of Pine Rest’s new report.

A new report from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health shows the pandemic, quarantine and economic downturn are fueling a dangerous uptick in mental health issues.

They predict suicide rates could increase by 25% over the next year.

Job losses, isolation, and increase substance use all compound mental health issues.

“For every one point increase in unemployment, we see a predictable…1.4% increase in suicide rates,” said Dr. Evonne Edwards, one of the report’s researchers. “If we look at unemployment trends also, which is related here, you often have a delayed impact on the suicide rates from the event itself.”

Dr. Edwards and the other researchers studied past epidemics and their effect on mental health. After the SARS outbreak in 2003, some suicide rates increased by more than 40% in Hong Kong and the trend continued long after the outbreak was contained.

Researchers say older adults, men and teens are most at risk for suicidal behaviors.

This fall season could be the most dangerous time.

“Teens who feel socially isolated who feel lonely who are socially isolated can have roughly two times greater risk of suicide,” said Dr. Edwards.

Dr. Edwards implores everyone to check in on their friends and family members. If someone you know is exhibiting dangerous behaviors, restrict their access to firearms, or other weapons, and refer them to help, or emergency services.

For more suicide prevention info, click here.

The report is grim but there is some hope.

The coronavirus has forced many doctors and therapists to expand their online offerings. Help could be just a phone call away.

Pine Rest has 30+ facilities in Michigan, and their entire network of trained staff can be available to you virtually, no matter where you live.

“Even if you can’t get into a local therapist…they’ll be able to get into some therapist, so I think we’re prepared,” said Traverse City clinic director Kristine Wilmoth. “If they’re struggling at all, they should call.”

The Pine Rest general assistance phone number is 866-852-4001.

You can schedule an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist who is able to prescribe medication.

Pine Rest also offers an emergency counseling line with same-day services.

Call 616-455-9200.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.

You can also call 211 for resources and referrals in Michigan for a variety of services. The number is available anytime.

For more information on Pinerest, visit

Categories: Coronavirus