This Saturday marks the annually recognized World Suicide Prevention Day, organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and endorsed by the World Health Organization. This day is critical to recognize, as we know that an estimated 703,000 people globally die by suicide each year. In keeping with this year’s theme, “Creating hope through action,” I wanted to reflect for a moment on the work we at Holmusk undertake with our partner NHS Trusts year-round to address this urgent matter.
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Each May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month. While awareness is certainly an important component of tackling our nation’s mental health crisis, the theme chosen this year by NAMI highlights that more than just awareness is needed. It is time to come “Together for Mental Health” and to take action to transform the mental health care ecosystem.
Last week, I had the pleasure of being invited to present at the monthly COVID-19 Evidence Accelerator, which is hosted by the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA, the FDA, and Friends of Cancer Research. This month’s conversation was a continuation of an ongoing discussion about the impacts the pandemic has had and continues to have on mental health.
Last month, I wrote an editorial in the Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry on the mental health crisis facing our nation’s children. A situation that was already becoming dire has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic—one meta-analysis found that the proportions of the world’s youth experiencing depressive symptoms or anxiety symptoms have doubled from pre-pandemic levels.