COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of people around the world, including the United States. Some ways the pandemic has affected mental health include:
- Social isolation and loneliness due to the need to maintain social distances.
- Financial stress due to job loss or reduced income.
- Anxiety and stress related to the uncertainty and severity of the disease.
According to American Psychological Association, experts fear that the pandemic could lead to an increase in the number of suicides. For this reason, it’s important to be alert for signs of mental health problems and provide support to people who may be struggling. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are two organizations that provide resources and support for people experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Hip-Hop Song Reduces Suicide
The subject of the song is 1-800-273-8255, by rapper Logic, who used the phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to give the title to a hit that also featured Alessia Cara and Khalid. Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, a mental health expert at the Medical University of Vienna, assessed changes in the number of daily calls received by the American suicide prevention hotline before and after the release of the song, from the MTV Video Music Awards during the 2017 and the 2018 Grammys (where she was awarded). In the results, there was an increase of 6.9 percent in calls, while suicides fell by 5.5 percent in the same period.
“Logic’s song probably represents the largest and most sustained suicide prevention message directly connected to a story of hope and recovery anywhere to date,” the study read. What goes to show, emphasizes Niederkrotenthaler, that media coverage is key when it comes to increasing or reducing the number of suicides, particularly for groups that are difficult to reach with traditional messages, such as adolescents.