Increase in Overdoses and Suicides Throughout Pandemic


ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR-TV) —Almost a year later, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. New stressors and constant changes to day to day life have resulted in more overdoses and suicides.

“We are seeing an increase in drug use as well and unfortunately things like the stimulus check, or increase stress related to the pandemic or the holidays, trying to cope with things in any way possible, especially while in isolation has really contributed to those negative coping skills for people at this time.” – Kristin Sauerbier, Program Director, Mobile Crisis Assessment Team

According the the CDC, during late June, 40% of U.S. Adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse associated with COVID-19. Young adults, minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers being the groups that are most impacted. Kristin says some key warning signs are any changes in behavior that affect your daily life.

“Sleeping more, again isolating more and part of that can’t be helped right now but if you’re used to hearing from your friend every couple of days and you haven’t heard form them in 3 weeks, that’s a pretty significant change to their normal behavior.” – Kristin Sauerbier, Program Director, Mobile Crisis Assessment Team

But there are places to get help. The Mobile Crisis Assessment Team, or MCAT, serves 6 counties, including Oneida, Herkimer and Otsego. They provide a variety of mental health resources like a 24-hour crisis line, peer advocates, crisis case management, counselors and more. All services are free of charge to both children and adults. Kristin says seeking help is the first step.

It’s really important that you think about that and maybe reaching out for assistance and be able to talk that through and determine what avenues are open to you being able to resolve some of those feelings and process them on on ongoing basis.” – Kristin Sauerbier, Program Director, Mobile Crisis Assessment Team

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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