Experts Predict an Increase of Suicides in the Coming Months. Here’s What You Can Do to Help Save Lives

lotus blossom in pond
Image from Pixabay

Editor’s Note: September is #SuicidePreventionMonthThis article first appeared in the August 2020 issues of the Washington State Employee Assistance Program’s Employee Frontline Newsletter:

Our state Department of Health (DOH) has been investigating and reporting on the many impacts of COVID-19 on all of us, including mental and behavioral health impacts. The COVID-19 pandemic has been widely regarded as a natural disaster, and in a June 2020 report the DOH considered the COVID-19 pandemic from this perspective and predicted significant behavioral health impacts of COVID using disaster response and recovery modeling. One of the report’s key findings is that suicides in Washington are expected to peak between October and December 2020. Washington’s suicide rate had already increased by nearly 19% from 1999-2016, and our state has the 21st highest suicide rate in the nation at 17.5 deaths per 100,000 people, higher than the national suicide rate of 14.5.

There is some good news: most suicides are preventable, and we can all take action to prepare and get in front of this curve. Here’s what you can do:

And, if you’re struggling and in need of support and guidance, or if you’re concerned about someone in your life and aren’t sure what to do, don’t hesitate to reach out to the EAP, at 1-877-313-4455.

Six Tips to Strengthen Your Immune System

woman jumping

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Washington State Employee Assistance Program’s April 2020 Newsletter

Strengthen Your Immune System

You and your family are working hard to limit your exposure to COVID-19 by social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face, cleaning frequently-touched surfaces and more: all of the actions recommended by the CDC, Washington State Department of Health and World Health Organization (WHO). What else can you do? To support your immune system to function at its best, it’s more important than ever to take these commonly recommended self-care actions:

1) get adequate sleep (7-9 hours for most folks)

2) eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants

3) move your body regularly

4) avoid smoking and heavy alcohol/substance use

5) maintain a healthy weight

6) manage your stress. This advice is even more important for older adults because they are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as the immune system becomes less efficient with age.

Examine gaps in your immune system maintenance plan, and talk to your medical doctor, health/wellness adviser or an EAP counselor for support with healthier self-care actions and overcoming any roadblocks. You can also watch the EAP’s on-demand webinar on self-care during COVID-19 or visit our COVID-19 Resources page to sign up for an upcoming live webinar.