The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for so many people, physically and emotionally. Worry and uncertainty about the virus itself has been compounded by changes in jobs, income, school and childcare situations. Many families are dealing with personal losses and grief due to COVID-19. Lockdowns and social distancing rules have caused many people to feel overwhelmed, worried, isolated or depressed, and these feelings have seemingly grown with time.
According to 2-1-1 Broward, a United Way of Broward County-funded 24-hour resource center, the needs in our community have increased over this past year. In fact, in April 2021, calls relating to suicide were 166% greater than those in April 2020 (121 calls in April 2021 versus 73 calls in April 2020). Similarly, calls relating to any mental health issue were 167% greater in the same time period (1,819 calls in April 2021 versus 1,092 calls in April 2020).
Fortunately, resources are available and the connection helps. Said one 2-1-1 caller, “I feel so, so much better after talking to you. It was so nice to have a conversation and someone listen to me. I am so happy that I called. I feel completely different than I did at the beginning of the call. I want to thank you so very much for being there. It reminded me of all the good I have in my life.”
UNITED WAY OF BROWARD COUNTY’S WORK YEAR-ROUND
Despite the pandemic, United Way of Broward County works year-round on many fronts to promote mental health in our community. Our Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention comprises professionals and volunteers with extensive experience and knowledge in behavioral health. It engages youth and adults with initiatives that include:
- Broward Youth Coalition (BYC), which educates and empowers youth to become positive influences on their peers and within their communities in regard to drug use prevention and mental health promotion
- Mental Health Promotion Action Team, which works with the treatment and wellness community to integrate systems of care which address mental health risk factors and increase prevention services
- Weston Alliance for Youth (WAY), which works to prevent substance use and promote mental health for the youth of the City of Weston
Choose Peace/Stop Violence is a county-wide violence prevention collaborative that educates, engages, inspires and empowers youth to take action and bring about positive change for the purpose of preventing youth crime, bullying and violence.
United Way of Broward County’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trains law enforcement officers to engage individuals in our community who are experiencing a crisis situation with compassion, the training involves education on mental health disorders, developmental disabilities and substance misuse issues.
The Broward Suicide Prevention Coalition, spearheaded by United Way of Broward County and supported by Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, is working on a campaign to promote Zero Suicide in Broward County.
HELP IS HERE
If you or someone you know is in lonely, depressed or stressed, help is here 24/7. The “It’s OK to NOT Be OK” campaign shares important mental health resources presented by the Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention. In addition, please call for support by dialing 2-1-1.