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Local Mental Health experts discuss suicide during the pandemic

While many people across the nation continue to fight the coronavirus battle physically, there are people also battling the effects mentally.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Throughout the pandemic, many people across the country have lost loved ones, but not only to the coronavirus. 

During the past few months, Mental Health Counselor Kate Rodriguez said she's seen an increase in people needing help.

"I've had to send, I think, two people to the hospital because the suicide thoughts were getting too much to handle," Rodriguez said. "Our mental health rates and suicide rates were already going up and now it's going to be even steeper."

Suicide rates have spiked not only in Texas, but across the nation since the pandemic. Rodriguez said for each individual it could be something different with loneliness, anxiety or finances.

"Layoffs are actually one of the biggest reasons for suicide that we see," Rodriguez said. 

In April, Texas hit a record high unemployment rate, making it worrisome for the mental health community. 

Angela Horner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness said they've also seen an increase in people needing their help during the crisis.

"Something that was kind of expected for the mental health community and we all had to brace ourselves because we knew there was going to be a lot of suicide ideation going on," Horner said. "NAMI Texas, our state organization has seen an increase in people reaching out and asking for help including a 500 increase in calls in the past few months. We are now in a point where we are receiving more calls than we were prior to covid."

While many people across the states continue to fight the coronavirus battle physically, there are people also battling the effects mentally. 

"It's almost like we're being forced to choose -- do we want to protect our physical health and stay at home, or at this point of time, is my mental health more important?" Horner said.

Both Horner and Rodriguez said although the pandemic continues to have an impact on our community, it's important to remember there are people ready to help.

"Being able to talk to somebody that they feel safe, admitting that they are having these feelings is key," Rodriguez said. 

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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