The impact of COVID-19 has had serious mental health consequences. To date, we are seeing an increase in anxiety, depression, alcohol and substance abuse as well as domestic violence. There are increased incidences of suicide.
Social distancing has had drastic negative effects on the mental health of the elderly and disabled as well.
Recorded at the beginning of our COVID shutdown, hosts: Dennis McCuistion and Jim Falk talk about “diseases of despair” related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for a collaborative and comprehensive approach to mental health education and suicide prevention are:
- Vanita Halliburton: Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Grant Halliburton Foundation. Ms. Halliburton speaks from the heart about her son’s battle with depression and bipolar disorder and his suicide at the age of 19 and
- Andy Keller, PhD, psychologist and President and CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute which provides independent, nonpartisan, data-driven, and trusted policy and program guidance to improve mental health services in Texas.
In addition to the work of the Grant Halliburton Foundation, we reference the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute’s report, which shows a direct correlation on how the economic recession stemming from the pandemic may increase rates of mental health and substance abuse. In Texas alone, it points out that each 5 %-point increase in the unemployment rate could result in 300 additional lives lost to suicide, and 425 additional lives lost to drug overdoses.
Nationally it is predicted that for each 5% increase in the unemployment rate over a year we could lose 4,000 more lives to suicide and 4,800 to overdoses as well as 600,000 more people who will suffer from some form of addiction.
Our guests discuss solutions and offer suggestions to building better mental health.
And please remember the McCuistion Program, a 501 ( C ) ( 3 ) tax exempt organization does not receive any KERA pledge dollars, PBS funds or government grants. The funding which has kept us on the air for 30 years comes from grantors and viewers just like you. So thank you, most especially in this critical time, for your continued support.